On the occasion of World AIDS Day 2006, Tata Group India's largest private sector conglomerate has been awarded "Civil Society Award" by UNAIDS for its exemplary role in fighting against HIV in India. Several Tata Group companies continuously provide support for HIV prevention, treatment and care services across the country. It may be mentioned that out of several group companies, the contribution of Tata Steel towards fighting against HIV is commendable. A N Singh, deputy managing director (coporate services), Tata Steel, received the award on behalf of Tata Group.
HIV pandemic is in its 25th year and India has an estimated 5.12 million HIV+ people with an adult prevalence rate of 0.9 per cent. HIV/AIDS has an impact on economy, health and society. Tata Steel's involvement vis-à-vis preventing HIV/AIDS dates back to the early 90s when the organisation realised that the disease had acquired epidemic proportions and accepted that its control or prevention was not the sole responsibility of the government. It decided to respond to the situation by taking appropriate initiatives to safeguard the health of its workforce and the community and prevent the spread of the disease.
The members, with the help of HR personnel, regularly conduct AIDS awareness programmes, using various IEC media and forum, as part of workplace programmes for both the permanent employees as well as contract labour. The Michael John Centre for Human Resources, a part of Tata Workers' Union facility, conducts various training and development programmes for the workers every week. Two innovative approaches were used to target secondary stakeholders — the spouses of the employees and the trucking community. The Tata Steel Core Group (AIDS) started an intervention at truckers' halt points where the truckers could avail of medical advice and information on HIV/AIDS.
During 2001-2002, the Tata Group was identified as a Global Business Coalition (GBC) member. Tata Steel also received the GBC HIV/AIDS award — 2003 for its commendable awareness work on HIV/AIDS in the community. Spearheading the Group initiatives, Tata Steel believes that by continuously informing and educating the employees and various levels of society, adequate awareness could be built in the community which in turn would take appropriate preventive measures against the disease.
The Tata Group has also set up Tata Initiatives on AIDS (TIA) to standardise the efforts of Tata companies in putting together workplace interventions on HIV/AIDS. The Tata Council of Community Initiatives (TCCI), which is the Group's nodal agency for undertaking corporate social initiatives, has identified internal Group Resource Persons on HIV/AIDS who conduct training and awareness across companies.