Tata Groups is one of the most renowned groups in India. Off late, with its expansion & acquisition plans abroad, it is making its presence felt worldwide. Looking at their history, we can easily figure out that they have been achieving things that were regarded as “unachievable”. Be it the Tata Steel, Taj Hotels, Tata Motors or TCS; Tata’s have always been the first of its kind in India and in some cases the world over.
Tata’s were regarded as excellent entrepreneurs with high “social responsibility”. For example, history of Tata Steel conveys many unique traits that depict their social responsibilities. Tata Steel introduced
- 8-hour work day as early as in 1912 when only a 12-hour work day was the legal requirement in Britain
- Leave-with-pay in 1920, a practice that became legally binding upon employers in India only in 1945.
- A Provident Fund for its employees as early as in 1920, which became a law for all employers under the Provident Fund Act only in 1952.
Tata Steel’s furnaces have never been disrupted on account of a labour strike and this is an enviable record considering its presence for more than a century now.
Tata’s were the one to setup India’s First Luxury Hotel (Taj). They brought IT industry (TCS) to India and introduced onsite-offshore model which is providing jobs for millions of engineers now. They introduced one of India’s first multinational companies (Tata Tea Limited) which became the world’s second largest global branded tea operation with product and brand presence in 40 countries. They also introduce the first “All Indian Car” (Tata Indica).
Their current venture is to commercialize the much-awaited and much-talked-about “Tata Nano” or “The One Lac Car”. It takes more than just a dream and huge money to bring in such a revolution. It requires a lot of hard work, dedication, endless research, innovation, huge investment and above all perseverance to transform such a Vision into Reality. The question is, “Is it going to be a reality?” I am sure that they can make it happen but the timeline (Oct 2008) is what I am not really sure about.
When we look at all the chaos that surrounded the Singur Plant and its land acquisition, we can clearly say one requires more than the above said qualities to formulate things to happen.
What was the problem? Do you think Mamata Banerjee doesn’t want West Bengal to be industrialized? She is known for opposing industrialization. Even in 2005, she protested against Salim Groups huge investment in WB. But in my opinion, I don’t think she has non-industrialization policy in mind.
I think no politician would intent to stop industrialization. They would be looking at more and more industries for the state’s growth. If not for the state’s growth, it will surely, at some point in time, turn out to be monetary benefit for them.
Then, why should she protest? I am sure it is not about her vetted interest on the farmers. She might have wanted to get some visibility and public prejudice for the next election. I am not really sure how much of votes she has won/lost by this action/trick.
I am in total agreement with the idea that it is the wish of the landowner to sell or not sell their lands. But how pragmatic is it to consider individual owner’s wish, when the government needs to acquire such huge landscape for good cause? I am sure such problems are there in all the SEZ’s setup in the country. There will be at least one landowner who will not be readily willing to let go his land. Government (of course with the help of party workers) will have to threaten them for successful acquisition. Unfortunately, in this case, the protest went overboard to the extent of totally shutting down the plant operations for more than a week now.
When we think logically, it is not going to be very feasible for farmers to cultivate in those lands, if construction works have already started on them. For those who require better compensation, they can sit and negotiate and I think they should get it. Regardless of whatever be it, the government will have to settle this issue either by providing more money or through some other means. If they want to handle it politically, they can think of some huge sum for the politicians involved in the protest and get them off the race. That would leave the farmers “unarmed” and open up an easy way to tackle them individually.
I strongly feel that Tata’s and the State Govt. did not take Mamata seriously. They should have settled this issue even before starting any work on the plant. Now that a huge investment is already made, it is very unlikely to pullout and if in case it is pulled out, it will prove to be an expensive decision. Somehow Tata’s have not been as efficient as Reliance in handling politicians. “Handling politicians” is a crucial for any corporate to survive and grow in this country.
Anyway, what next? Governor’s intervention and negotiations have brought down the agitation and politicians are off the battle now. “We need to give some to take some” – Tata’s need to understand this and think about giving back at least some portion of the land. I am sure there is always more than one possible solution. Tata’s can let go some portion of land and still can achieve the goal. I don’t think alternate solution is impossible – it’s just that they don’t want to think of one.
Tata’s – you can handle any situation. Just be judicious and do what it takes to bring your Nano into reality. Let’s cut down our (future customer’s) long wait and provide us with your engineering marvel; let the world ponder.
You can count me as one of your future customers for sure.