TATAS: WE OPERATE BUSINESSES AND LIFE ON TRUST, CONFIDENCE


The Hindu, December 19, 2016
Interview: Ramachandran Venkataramanan, the managing trustee of Tata Trusts in conversation with Piyush Pandey:

Excerpts:

“We operate businesses and life on trust and confidence, not necessarily on a legal contract. That doesn’t mean we are doing anything illegal. If you have to finalise the books of accounts of a particular company, you could say ‘Financial systems and processes do not exist’. It could be reworded to ‘There is a need to strengthen the financial systems and processes’. It means the same but the way you interpret it or deal with it makes a huge difference. If you have trust, you will say the latter. If you don’t have trust, you will say the former.

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Salt fortification
We worked with the Ministry of Women and Child Development, Health and the Food Safety Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) to formally adopt and notify standards for fortification. These were announced on November 16, 2016 in the presence of Hon’ble Minister Ram Vilas Paswan. Several states are formally launching Double Fortified Salt using such protocols.
Fortification has been a practice globally. For example, many years ago, China found a way to embed micro-nutrients in soya sauce because soya sauce is a staple food in China. India has always been privy to this sort of fortification, earlier. In the 80s, iodised salt came into being that way. Then it became a standard, over the years. Now, we hope that in the coming years, Double Fortified Salt (DFS) or fortified milk will be a mandatory standard. It is available in the market but the key difference is that today, Tata Salt sells DFS at a price of about Rs.28, beyond the reach of many people. What we are attempting to do from the Trusts is, we are agnostic to any company or any state. The price points in public programmes will be around Rs.10 or less.
It is on initiatives like this that Mr. Tata has been personally involved. Conceiving it, providing strategic direction and also, reviewing it, very periodically – some times more than a programme manager.
We worked with the Ministry of Women and Child Development, Health and the Food Safety Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) to formally adopt and notify standards for fortification. These were announced on November 16, 2016 in the presence of Hon’ble Minister Ram Vilas Paswan. Several states are formally launching Double Fortified Salt using such protocols.
Fortification has been a practice globally. For example, many years ago, China found a way to embed micro-nutrients in soya sauce because soya sauce is a staple food in China. India has always been privy to this sort of fortification, earlier. In the 80s, iodised salt came into being that way. Then it became a standard, over the years. Now, we hope that in the coming years, Double Fortified Salt (DFS) or fortified milk will be a mandatory standard. It is available in the market but the key difference is that today, Tata Salt sells DFS at a price of about Rs.28, beyond the reach of many people. What we are attempting to do from the Trusts is, we are agnostic to any company or any state. The price points in public programmes will be around Rs.10 or less.
It is on initiatives like this that Mr. Tata has been personally involved. Conceiving it, providing strategic direction and also, reviewing it, very periodically – some times more than a programme manager.”


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