Jamshedpur could be just like any other Indian city. Just that it’s not. Run by a for-profit Tata subsidiary, it became one of the best cities in India to live in.
Jamshedpur was established in 1907, when it was selected by Jamsetji Tata as a suitable site for his new Tata and Sons iron and steel factory, which he decided to establish after visiting Pittsburgh. The town – in the beginning named Sakchi – was established in an area with many blacksmiths and indigenous knowledge regarding local mineral resources (Kumar, 2015: 2). Modern planning principles were employed in developing the city and a strong social and community orientation of Tata Steel was present throughout its history. From its inception on, Jamshedpur was a private township managed by the Tata company itself. From 1911 to 2012, it grew dramatically as it registered a growth of more than twelve thousand times (Kumar, 2015: 2). A major part of this growth is a result of the growth of the Tata company, which in parallel to the city’s growth became the largest private sector steel company in India (Mahajan and Ives, 2016, 3) and expanded in a broad range of industries (steel, cars, beverages, communications, hospitality, energy) with over 100 companies, all controlled by Tata Group, headquartered in Mumbai.
Today, Jamshedpur is a major East India industrial centre and houses the largest iron and steel producing plant in India (Tata Steel), one of the largest plants in India (Tata Motors), Tata Power, Lafarge Cement, Tata Hitachi Construction Machinery, BOC Gases, Tata Technologies Limited, Praxair, Tata Consulting Engineers, Tata Consultancy Services, Tinplate, Jamshedpur Engineering & Machine Manufacturing Company (JEMCO), TRF Limited, India Steel & Wire Products Limited, Tata Tinplate Works, Tata Cement, Tata Bluescope Limited, etc. Despite its industrial character, Jamshedpur is regarded as an outstanding example of city planning with very high standards of living. In 2008, it was rated the second-best city in the country on the quality of life index (Sridhar and Verma, 2013) by ORG Marg Nielsen, in 2010 it was ranked seventh on the list of 441 cities and towns in India regarding sanitation and cleanliness by the Ministry of Urban Development (Sridhar and Verma, 2013) and was selected for the United Nations Global Compact Cities pilot programme.
The Jamshedpur Urban Agglomeration (150 km2) formed in 2006 consists of multiple authorities:
Jamshedpur Notified Area Committee (JNAC)
Mango Notified Area Committee (MNAC)
Jugsalai Municipality (JMC)
Adityapur Nagar Parshad (Adityapur Municipal Corporation – AMC)
8 Census Towns: Baghbera, Gadra, Ghorabanda, Parsudih, Kitadih, Sarjamdah, Haldubani and Chota Govindpur
The largest and central part of Jamshedpur’s Urban Agglomeration is governed by JNAC, which is comprised of two parts, one under Tata’s lease (41 km2 managed by JUSCO, a subsidiary of Tata Steel) and a part managed by JNAC itself. JNAC is in charge of the provision of sanitation facilities, supply of water, construction of roads, drains etc., provision of urban amenities and facilities such as parks, gardens, playgrounds, markets, bus tempo stands, administering central and state government Urban Poverty Alleviation (UPA) schemes (JNAC, 2016).
Being a private township, Jamshedpur is the only city in India without a democratically elected municipality (Samuel and Rai, 2015). There is no municipal legal body or urban local body in Jamshedpur (Singh et al., 2015: 3). The power lies within the Tata-controlled local administration and its service provider, Jamshedpur Utilities and Services Company (JUSCO), a Tata Steel subsidiary.
According to several researches, this model of urban governance has proved to be successful in India, as many Indian cities are typically characterised by conflicts between multiple agencies (Sridhar and Verma, 2013). Jamshedpur’s unified authority with clear and effective lines of accountability and transparent performance standards (Sridhar and Verma, 2013) resolve several of these problems.
Nevertheless, Jamshedpur and Tata Steel have been challenged and criticized for neglecting impoverished neighbourhoods on several occasions, but successfully resisted every single time. Already in 1967, the Bihar government issued a proposal to convert the Jamshedpur Notified Area Committee into a municipality, which was later dropped. Again in 1989, the Supreme Court directed the state government to convert the private township into a municipality within eight weeks, but in 1993 a constitutional amendment (allegedly influenced by the Tata Group) allowed the formation of an “industrial township”. Similar attempts by the government in 1998 and 2005 were again diverted and at the moment, the renewed lease of 2005 stays in place (Samuel and Rai, 2015). Under its agreement, renewed for a period of 30 years, with retrospective effect from 1996, Tata Steel is bound by law to provide “civic services like conservancy, building and maintaining roads, sewerage etc., supply of water and maintaining water mains, pipes etc., street lighting and supplying electrical energy and similar amenities and various other civic amenities for the inhabitants of the town of Jamshedpur” (Samuel and Rai, 2015).
Social responsibility as a business model
The approach to the provision of social programmes in Jamshedpur is inspired by the ideals of Jamsetji Tata, the founder of Tata Steel: “We do not claim to be more unselfish, more generous or more philanthropic than others, but we think we started on sound and straightforward business principles considering the interests of the shareholders, our own and the health and welfare of our employees… the sure foundation of prosperity” (Mahajan and Ives, 2016: 4). From its foundation on, Tata pioneered the provision of social programmes and welfare in India. For example, already in 1912, thirty-six years before the Indian government, it introduced the eight-hour working day (Mahajan and Ives, 2016: 4). The strong involvement in provision of social, leisure, medical and educational programmes continues today.
In the last century, Tata Steel in Jamshedpur has established several family initiatives: Family Welfare (1951), Community Development and Social Welfare (1958), Tribal and Harijan Welfare Cell (1974), Tata Steel Rural Development Society (1979), Environmental Management (1986), Tribal Culture Society (1990), Tata Steel Family Initiatives Foundation (1998) (Mahajan and Ives, 2016: 5).
Daily, Tata Steel provides midday meals to 65,000 students in 467 government schools in and around Jamshedpur to enhance enrolment, retention and attendance and improve nutritional levels among children. Tata Steel also provides an adult literacy programme that focuses on improving functional literacy of approximately 3,000 women every year, and provides basic preschool education to approximately 600 underprivileged children each year (Singh et al., 2015: 6). With its 500 beds, Tata Main Hospital provides healthcare to Tata employees as well as to the general public (Tata Townships, 2016).
Overall, Jamshedpur Utilities and Services Company (JUSCO), a subsidiary of Tata, manages and maintains 9 schools, 1 college, 524 km of roads, 478 km of sewer lines, 490 km of water mains, 358 storm water drains, and 17 small and large parks (Tata Growth Shop, 2016).
Tata Steel is involved in several educational programmes, supports schools and colleges, and endows various scholarships (Tata Growth Shop, 2016). The Shavak Nanavati Technical Institute (SNTI), first established as the technical training department of Tata Steel, now develops skilled employees for other companies as well; the R.D. Tata Technical Education Centre aims to improve the quality of technical education and to cater to the requirements of industries in the region; MGM Medical College & Hospital teaches undergraduate and postgraduate students and is associated with the Tata Main Hospital (Tata Growth Shop, 2016). Moreover, Tata supports and is involved in the management of XLRI – Xavier School of Management, while the proximity of Tata Steel Adventure Foundation enables several synergies with the school.
Jamshedpur is an important sports city as Tata Steel is promoting several sport activities and has built several sport facilities, e.g. Sumant Moolgaokar Stadium, a 10,000-seat stadium in Tata Motors colony, JRD Tata Sports Complex with an international standard football ground, an eight-lane synthetic running track, the Tata chess centre, ladies fitness gymnasium, Tata Archery Academy, facilities for handball, tennis, volleyball, hockey, basketball, boxing, table tennis and a modern gymnasium. The complex also features a sports hotel. The Tata Steel Adventure Foundation manages several adventure activities for Tata Steel employees, their families and residents of Jamshedpur and arranges a wide variety of adventure sports, such as rock climbing, river rafting, parasailing; Tata Football Academy is regarded as India’s first football academy; and Tata Athletic Academy nurtures the talent of international level athletes (Tata Growth Shop, 2016).
Green areas comprise 27% of Jamshedpur, making it one of the greenest cities in India (Singh et al., 2015: 3). On Jamshedpur’s 100th anniversary, Tata Steel built a Jubilee Park and a Jubilee Amusement Park. The Jubilee Park with its 93 hectares is the biggest and most visited park of the city, while the Jubilee Amusement Park redefined entertainment in the city (Tata Growth Shop, 2016). The Tata Steel Zoological Park in the vicinity of the Steel Plant comprises of a Safari Park, Nature Education Centre and a Nature Trail. Inside the Russi Modi Centre for Excellence, an architectural masterpiece, hosts an exhibition of J. N. Tata’s social responsibility projects and his technological achievements (Tata Growth Shop, 2016).
Managing cities can be a business
From its establishment on, Tata Steel has played an important role in envisioning Jamshedpurs’ future and steering its development. In the recent years, after the last extension of the lease in 2005, Tata has changed its approach to providing public and utility services in the city. Already in 2004, Jamshedpur Utilities and Services Company (JUSCO) was carved out of Tata Steel from its Town Services Division, with the intent of converting an obligatory service into a customer focused sustainable corporate entity (JUSCO, 2016). A cost-centric service was thus converted into a commercial customer-oriented company (Sridhar and Verma, 2013) – its services are financed by the state and a special local tax, collected by JUSCO itself.
With this technical change, the understanding of the city, its development and management has changed as it became an asset that can be capitalised as a pilot area and testing ground for new services. JUSCO has since expanded its activities in planning, development and maintenance of township infrastructure, operation and maintenance of power infrastructure and distribution and providing civic and municipal services in an integrated manner in a full-fledged municipal area (TATA, 2016). With this, the strategy and vision of the city – previously inspired by steel and sports – has shifted and become an instrument of Tata’s new product/service development.
Jamshedpur Utilities and Services Company (JUSCO) is a first-of-a-kind initiative in India that offers comprehensive urban infrastructure services (JUSCO, 2016).
It is a one-stop-shop provider of all civic amenities and municipal services, including water, power, infrastructure, public health and horticulture services to about 500.000 people in Jamshedpur. JUSCO has an integrated municipal solid waste management strategy, collects waste daily, and employs 800 people in maintenance activities, including sweeping, drain cleaning, carcass removal, cleaning urinals/public toilets and garbage removal. An efficient storm-water drainage system takes care of rainwater. Moreover, in the last years, JUSCO has implemented a compost plant to treat and convert municipal waste into compost for in-house use, a biogas plant to convert food waste into energy for in-house use in Tata Steel’s guest houses, recycling and treatment of storm water for irrigation purposes, the use of plastic waste as one of the ingredients in road construction, use of treated sewage water to reduce raw water consumption for a drip irrigation system at Jubilee Park, the development of green patches and tree planting to improve air quality, and a stray dog sterilization centre (Singh et al., 2015: 4).
The aim of JUSCO is thus to create a model town with world-class facilities that would be able to overcome the problems usually associated with cities in developing countries: multi-level governance and high inequality. Contrary to contemporary trends of outsourcing urban utility services, Jamshedpur’s model supports the integrated provision of services. It’s fully private provision abides the problems that arise from multiple providers and ensures a coordinated development of the city (Sridhar and Verma, 2013). And this might be something we cannot see elsewhere.
JNAC (2016) Jamshedpur Notifie Area Committee. Available at: http://www.jamshedpurnac.org/BoardMember.aspx (Accessed 22 March 2016).
JUSCO (2016) JUSCO. Available at: http://www.juscoltd.com/jusco.asp (Accessed 22 March 2016).
Kumar, R. (2015) ‘Spatial Evolution of Jamshedpur city and its Agglomeration Effects’, The Third Conference: GIS-based Global History from Asian Perspectives. Tokyo, 5 June.
Mahajan, A. and Ives, K. (2016) Enhancing Business-Community Relations Tata Steel Case Study. Available at: www.new-academy.ac.uk (Accessed 22 March 2016).
Samuel, M. and Rai, S. (2015) Capitalist Punishment: How Tata Steel killed a city. Available at: http://www.tehelka.com/2015/02/capitalist-punishment-how-tata-steel-killed-a-city/?singlepage=1 (Accessed 22 March 2016).
Singh, A.P., Rajan, R., Sharma, S. and Chaudhuri, S. (2015) Tata Steel/JUSCO: Innovating and city building in Jamshedpur‘ Available at: http://citiesprogramme.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Case-Study-Jamshedpur-Innovation1.pdf (Accessed 22 March 2016).
Sridhar, K.S. and Verma, S. (2013) A way out of urban chaos. Available at: http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/opinion/a-way-out-of-urban-chaos/article5201485.ece (Accessed 22 March 2016).
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Tata Growth Shop (2016) Tata Growth Shop. Available at: http://www.tatagrowthshop.com/sustainability/jamshedpur-glance.htm (Accessed 22 March 2016).