Jharkhand,22 Apr:The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, addressed the Tata Centenary Celebrations at Jamshedpur in Jharkhand today. Following is the text of the Prime Minister’s address on the occasion: “This is truly a special day for all of you and that includes myself, for the people of Jharkhand, for the people of India and as I said, indeed, for myself. Coming here in this year of your centenary is a moment of great happiness and pride for me. I stand here to pay tribute to the memory of the great founder, the great visionary, Jamshedji Tata, and thousands of employees and workers who have, over the past century, built this unique temple of modern India.Today, Tata Steel is a symbol of a new phase in the growth of Indian industry. The impressive turn around of this company has made it globally competitive. I am very happy to learn that you now surpass global standards on many counts. I was particularly delighted to learn that you meet global standards on environmental considerations.I compliment my friend Ratan Tata, his colleagues Shri J.J. Irani and Shri Muthuraman, for their leadership and for their vision. Our country owes a great deal to such dynamic patriotic leaders of Indian business. They create wealth, they create employment, they create new capabilities and they create new possibilities for all our people.
One hundred years ago, India was just beginning to industrialize. It industrialized in an environment of hostility where the playing fields were tilted against our domestic enterprise. We must salute the patriotism, the spirit of adventure and enterprise, the business acumen and the spirit of adventure of that great generation of pioneers who laid the foundation of Indian industrialization. Jamshedji Tata was one such great visionary who made India proud.
Your company has been fortunate that it was succeeded by successive generations of forward looking business leaders. I must pay tribute to the memory of the late Shri JRD Tata. I take great pride in the fact that our government, in 1992, chose Shri JRD Tata as the first Indian business leader to be awarded Bharat Ratna. I recall that Tata Steel was a pioneer in introducing 8 hour working days, as early as in 1912, and the concept of ‘leave with pay’ and employees provident fund. You have been pioneer in many social fields as well.
Jamshedpur is a symbol of our country’s progress in the 20th century. It has demonstrated that industrialization can be, if guided wisely, be a win-win game. Without industrialization one cannot provide new opportunities for employment for those who are no longer able to earn a living out of agriculture. Industrialization provides a way out of the process of agrarian change and agricultural development in an over populated economy such as ours.
Over the past 25 years the share of agriculture in national income has come down due to the rapid growth of new industries and the services economy. But, there has been no commensurate decline in the share of population dependent on agriculture.
Many from Jharkhand and Bihar have been forced to migrate to other parts of the country where new industries are emerging. I share, sometimes, in the distress of these families. I understand the pain of migration, since my own family had to once migrate. I would like a new era for Jharkhand in which jobs will come to the people of this State.
We must, therefore, encourage new industrial activity in the State. I compliment Tata Steel for showing faith in the people of this region and re-investing in the State and the surrounding States. When I met Mr. Lakshmi Mittal, he also spoke to me about his plans for Jharkhand.
I do believe that the private sector will benefit in the long run if it also becomes a partner in social development, especially in less developed regions like Jharkhand. There is a lot that large corporate entities can do to improve the welfare of the wider community of their stake-holders, even as they reward their share-holders. I would like to see the ripple effects of growth in Jamshedpur to be felt even more visibly in an even wider region around.
I am confident that such efforts will be further encouraged if the State Government also pays more attention to development. Jharkhand needs investment in education, investment in better health care, investment in rural infrastructure, investment in urban development and above all, an environment of peace, security and political stability.
The success of Tata Steel shows how progress can be made here, in this State, if we all work together to create the appropriate environment for enterprise. The challenge before our country is to in fact create such an environment in all regions so that industrial development is more balanced across states and we can increase total investment in the country as a whole.
Townships like Bokaro and Jamshedpur came up during the first phase of Indian industrialization. Today, as we enter a new phase of industrialization we need new centers that can create new jobs and promote new industries. Our government has come forward with a humane industrialization policy where the focus is on creating employment while at the same time ensuring that no section of the society is displaced or dispossessed by the processes of industrial development.
Our labour is our golden asset. People become an asset when we invest in them. They become a liability only if we do not invest in them.
That is why our government is placing great emphasis on education, on health care and on providing skills for our youth. We have launched a National Skill Development Mission; we are modernizing our Industrial Training Institutes so that our youth can acquire the skills that open doors to new employment opportunities. I have invited the private sector to be an active partner in this process of skill creation and empowerment of our people.
Steel in the modern world, is a symbol of progress. In the past 100 years the production and consumption of steel has increased significantly. But the consumption of steel in India is still below that of many newly industrializing nations. Therefore, steel is as much an industry of the future as it is an industry of the past and the present. There is vast potential for the growth of this industry, and for its expansion and modernization, in years to come.
I would humbly advise our steel industry, therefore, to take a long term view and not fall prey to the temptation of seeking windfall gains from market manipulation in a period of excessive temporary demand. The Indian economy will continue to grow and the demand for steel will continue to grow. Industry and trade must therefore eschew short-term gains that hurt consumers and disrupt the stability of the processes of economic growth.
Tata Steel has a proud record of corporate social responsibility. It can show the way forward in deploying corporate power for public interest. In the present context where industrial prices are on the rise, there is an opportunity for corporate leaders to deploy corporate power in the best interests of society as a whole. Stable growth, with reasonable prices can in fact widen and deepen the market for industrial products and in turn benefit the business and consumers.
Tata Steel has been a great leader in steel making and it must continue to provide this exemplary leadership on all fronts. I wish you all another 100 years of sustained progress and prosperity. I conclude by praying that for the Tata Steel the best is yet to come.”