By Aiswarya Anil:
We have all heard of Tata Motors and Tata Tea because Tata is undeniably part of our everyday shopping vocabulary in India. Everyone has used a Tata product at least once in their lives, be it a Nano car or a Tata Sky subscription.
However, Tata might also just be the only brand in India that can be trusted, because it has hardly been in any scandal that other companies always find themselves in.
The Tata group of companies is one of the biggest business conglomerates in the world. It was founded in 1868 by Jamsetji Tata as a small trading company.
He is regarded as the “Father of Indian Industry” because of the great influence he had in the Indian industrial sector, especially after independence.
Tata Iron and Steel Works Company was the first established business, after which the company’s expansion was a step-up game for the modern Indian industry.
Tata has since been under the leadership of five chairmans, namely Jamsetji’s son Dorabji Tata, followed by Nowroji Saklatwala, JRD Tata, Ratan Tata, Cyrus Mistry and now, it is Natarajan Chandrasekaran.
In 2019, Tata was the only brand in India to become part of Brand Finance Global’s report of the top 100 most valued brands in the world.
According to Chandrasekaran, trust and leadership are brand attributes that are more important to the company than any of its stakeholders. The Tata family is only a small shareholder of the company, and 66% of the company is controlled by philanthropic trusts.
Well, can one conclude that Tata might just be the one national corporation that has only had good intentions in the business world?
However, being like any other corporate company, Tata has also been in a few controversies, very few. In one such protest against the construction of a boundary wall by Tata Steel in Kalinganagar (Orissa), 13 tribal people were shot dead by the local police.
The Tata Tapes controversy was the only proper scandal that came to light in 1997, which surrounded a recorded conversation between Ratan Tata and other public figures, concerning the problems that Tata Tea was having with the Assam government.
The government accused the company of being tied with the United Liberation Front of Assam, a revolutionary rebel group.
The controversy did not end with any conclusion, as Tata’s request for the Union government’s support faltered when the latter collapsed in the same year. Peace talks happened with the Assam government and the controversy died down.
These listed controversies are enough to make anyone feel wary about a multinational company. However, compared to the ones that other companies have been in, Tata might just be the only company India can tolerate.
In India’s Enron Scandal that involved Satyam Computers, the chairman Ramalinga Raju confessed to having falsified accounts that amounted to a fraud of Rs. 14,000 crore.
Vijay Mallya, the former owner of Kingfisher, owes Rs. 9,000 crore to 17 banks in India, and has been charged with fraud and money laundering. Although he has offered to return the money, the government and banks want him duly punished.
In 2019, Naveen Jindal was also criminally charged for making incorrect claims regarding the allocation of land, equipment and a coal block. This was an extension of the Coalgate scam, which was brought into light in 2012.
Tata has never been involved in scandals that have directly affected the economy of India. Ratan Tata was accused by Cyrus Mistry for laundering around Rs. 22 crores under the airline business.
However, these allegations could be possible in view of the fallout that Mistry and Tata had, when Mistry resigned from the board claiming that Tata did not let him make decisions.
Considering the charity and ethical work that Tata involves themselves in, can we say that it might just be the most honest brand in India? Optimistically, we believe it has managed to keep the trust without causing any major problems.
Ms. Varalakshmi, a former Tata employee, even said that Tata as a brand is bigger than the individuals it comprises of. Hence, as of now, we can place our trust in Tata.
And this is not sponsored content.