“There are special and specific initiatives designed to benefit marginalised stakeholders, mainly in society at large, that include the illiterate, the rural youth and even incarcerated persons.”
Tata Consultancy Services has distinguished itself as an IT-expert organisation that its customers view as an essential partner for helping them with their transformation initiatives. Just as importantly though, it is an organisation that has a deep commitment to its corporate social responsibility role.
The company has instituted numerous programmes and undertaken many projects in several fields with which to display evidence of its commitment. It is these tangible demonstrations that have earned it the recognition as one of the most socially responsible companies worldwide.
There are special and specific initiatives designed to benefit marginalised stakeholders, mainly in society at large, that include the illiterate, the rural youth and even incarcerated persons. This is in addition to its comprehensive environmental policy that is applied to all its business groups across the world. With these two areas of good corporate citizenry, Tata Consultancy Services has established itself as a contributing member of the planet and a champion of the less fortunate, known forgood use of its profits. It has adopted the ‘triple bottom-line’ approach, recognising people, planet and profit as the primary pillars of corporate sustainability.
This approach is demonstrated by the company’s engagement with marginalised and vulnerable communities, with its adherence and respect for human rights and with its commitment to the reduction of impact of its operations on the environment. Part of its responsible business culture also includes looking after employee well-being and safety.
As the company operates in a large number of countries and territories across the globe, their business units are encouraged to identify beneficiaries who would benefit from their CSR commitment, in line with local needs. Volunteerism among the staff is encouraged but the company also leverages on its expertise in IT with which to help the many communities in which Tata Consultancy Services operates.
The company has spent considerable sums in education and skill building, on health and wellness, on restoration activities in heritage areas, on disaster relief and on environmental sustainability. In the most recent annual year-end report, the company spent over 300 crores on corporate social responsibility activities.
Under education and skill building, the company has designed adult literacy programmes and uses its expertise in IT to design modules to help people achieve functional literacy. The software is available in various languages including Arabic and two African languages. Various colleges collaborate to use this tool with their students, and since its inception, the programme has benefitted over two million people worldwide.
TCS is credited with being the first organisation in India to sign an MOU with the National Skill Development Corporation to help young people with their employability. Working with youth in Jammu and Kashmir, the programme includes a 14-week training period where skills relevant to the industry are shared and taught. The programme has helped over 600 youths since its formulation, the majority of whom have found gainful employment, some with Tata Consultancy Services itself.
The company’s Academic Interface Programme displays its commitment to the development of faculties for academic institutes and the development of curriculums so as to make them more relevant to changing industry needs.
The company also created the Advanced Computer Training programme to help bridge the gap between the computer skills of persons who are visually impaired and industry requirements. Awareness of the importance of IT skills among the youth is helped by the TCS IT Wiz project, deemed the biggest inter-school quiz programme in India. The project reaches over 17,000 students from over 1,000 schools in 15 cities.
Tata Consultancy Services has also focused on helping those in rural areas with programmes such as the Tata Consultancy Services Maitree village Development Programme. The company’s associates have trained 50 women in Panvel, India, in making eco-friendly jute bags through the Women Empowerment Programme. A two-storey school has also been provided for the benefit of over 500 children in the village, who will have access to its solar-operated computer lab, a science lab and a library. As supplementary support in this rural area, infrastructure for clean drinking water has also been provided. Volunteers visit the village to teach the children conversational English, as well as Maths and Science. This initiative, known as the Panvel Rural Development Initiative, is one of the flagship volunteerism initiatives of Tata Consultancy Services Maitree. There are other beneficiaries of such projects in other areas such as Padmapur and Challera, widening the number of beneficiaries to over a thousand rural residents.
Marginalised youth across India, meanwhile, have been the target beneficiaries of the BPS Employability Programme, which TCS has dedicated itself to since 2010, in recognition of the critical concern over lack of exposure to contemporary skills in the country.
The programme consists of 80 to 100 hours of powerful interactive content designed to train marginalised youth and help them develop skills that increase their chances of finding gainful employment. The training is an effective platform for the learning of communication skills, corporate etiquette, interview skills, resume building and basic computer knowledge. Helping these marginalised youths build their self-confidence is the motivation behind this programme.
Corporate support for the betterment of society is also seen in the company’s support of the construction of the Girls Advancing in STEM (GAINS) Academy in Pune. Here, girls are trained with 21st century skill building such as coding and critical writing and are taught by faculty members who previously served at Woodstock and the American School of Chennai.
Tata Consultancy Services has also given its support, financially and in other forms of sponsorship, to many other institutions that are engaged in education, employability or research. Some of these forms of support have included sponsoring education for 40 children from socially and economically disadvantaged communities and providing water filters, computers and broadband connection at the hostels. Libraries are also set up as well to complement the financial grants for students who do well.
Just as significantly, Tata Consultancy Services provides a free-of-charge integrated Hospital Management System IT infrastructure to the Cancer Research Institute at Chennai, in addition to having designed and implemented a similar system at the Tata Medical Centre in Kolkata.
Spreading its goodwill further, the company is credited with having helped in the restoration of the Rajabal Clock Tower at Mumbai University. Services for the restoration included waterproofing and electrical work in addition to stone work over a height equivalent to 29 floors which helped restore the edifice to its former magnificence worthy of its heritage status.
Tata Consultancy Services has also participated in the Marine Turtle Conservation Programme, aimed at protecting breeding sites and preventing illegal hunting and killing of turtles. The programme was implemented in five locations along the Maharashtra coastline in 2015. This and the lake conservation programme at Chinnappanahalli have been undertaken in collaboration with special interest and activist groups with the help of hundreds of volunteers from the company as well as the general public.
These initiatives and many others undertaken by Tata Consultancy Services group are evidence that a large, successful conglomerate can indeed focus not just on profits but also on the betterment of people and the planet. It is an intention made more noble given the company’s far-reaching presence.