JSPL, Creating Employment Through Industrialization in Odisha

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With all these livelihood and employment opportunities the economic and quality of life among people in and around the JSPL’s 6 MTPA Steel project has improved significantly which has been illustrated in NABCONS report on Socio economic impact study of Land acquisition.

Job creation is an outcome of strong will power of Individual, Society and Government. The trio must work in tandem for setting the stage for employment generation. However, the sources of employment generation are always confined to Primary (Agriculture, pure mining, forest and fisheries), Secondary (Industrialization and other value addition to Mining products) and Services (banking. Telecom, education, health , Information Technology and other skill based services) sector.

The propensity of job creation from agriculture is far lower compared to the capacity for job creation from Industry on account of ever increasing land fragmentation, vagaries of monsoon and low private investment in farm sector. Therefore security of livelihood from agriculture percolating down through generations is being proved as a myth .

Tested experiences throughout the world and also in western corridors of India prove that sustainable and holistic prosperity can be ushered through a good mix of agriculture, Industry and services sector. Industrialization led prosperity is being seen as having highest capacity of encompassing skill diversities.

But Unfortunately  industrialization experiences in Odisha, which has bounties of natural resources like minerals, water and other favorable conditions, is always confronted by the naysayers.

As a result, most of the  investors who have come to Odisha to set up industry since liberalization of Indian economy  in 1991, has experienced multi dimensional impediments in setting up their industrial units. Growth which has occurred in service sector cannot sustain without parallel growth in Industry and agriculture.

Jobs can’t be created by wishful thinking. First, work must get created before a person could be engaged for that work and not vice versa. Work cannot be created in agriculture matching the growth of population and job seekers.

Work can get created in large scale only if industry is developed, more and more factories get built and products get ready for merchandise.

During the process of land acquisition, demand for permanent jobs in large numbers cannot be realistically met. People have to patiently wait for construction to commence and scale up, and show willingness to work under contractors as per their qualification, skill and experience. Their career growth will depend on their ability to learn and improve.

Also Read: Jindal Steel & NABARD to Develop Watershed in 3450 Acres of land in Angul District of Odisha

In modern world of business, employment lasts until the business lasts. Job in an Industry gets paid for out of the income generated by the industry. Jobs cannot be paid for, out of borrowings or equity capital as soon as the construction gets over and project gets operational.

This is our home truth, and will remain true irrespective of the cacophony of demands from the day a green field industrial project gets announced.

JSPL, Angul as a Case Study

JSPL logo

In the light of the above logic and tested truth, let’s see Jindal Steel & Power Ltd (JSPL) Angul as a Case Study. JSPL has been conscious of huge expectations that get generated among local people around a mega steel Project, in terms of employment and economic advancement opportunities, as soon as a project is announced.

It is a natural phenomena around all green field projects for local people to start demanding jobs on regular basis even before the land is parted with and fully ready for construction.

JSPL respected people’s sentiments and tried a three pronged strategy to create opportunities for local people in terms of building their capacity to get gainful employment when the project gets commissioned and ready to offer regular employment on permanent basis.

The first step taken by JSPL was to set up an ITI at Angul, in a hired premise, with an annual intake of around 200 students. The OP Jindal Community College, formerly called OPJITS has trained 2720 youth from among the local people living around the project since inception in 2007.

It’s a matter of pride for OPJCC that a large number of students have reported to the Institute that they have been gainfully employed, benefiting from their skill development training.

The second step taken by JSPL was to provide gainful engagement to local job aspirants through Contractors working at JSPL Project.

JSPL also encouraged many local people to partner in the construction by becoming contractors and suppliers/vendors to the Project. As on January 2014, out of 9297 contract workers working at JSPL Project, 62.4% ie, 5807 workers are local people.

At the peak of construction activity in 2012-13, when over 20,000 contract workers were engaged in the Project construction; over 50% were local people. The Plant construction is almost complete for Phase-1 capacity of 1.5 MTPA Steel and 900 MW Power.

The construction for Phase-2 is due, and it depends upon the cooperation of PAFs from Phase-2 Land area, to expedite the construction and scale up engagement of more contract workers.

The third step taken by JSPL was to fully honour:

i) the Odisha R&R Policy
ii) the Commitment made under the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)  for setting the steel plant  including
iii)  the  commitment made before the RPDAC to provide guaranteed regular jobs or cash in lieu of jobs  to all the Displaced Families and also
iv) to create preferential job opportunities for other Project Affected Families linking with the capacity of the Plant Operations after commissioning.

JSPL has fulfilled not only the above commitments, but also has met the 10th HLCA guidelines of State Government in providing regular employment to local people.

Besides, JSPL has contributed significantly for creation of livelihood among villagers in its periphery area. The company, under its CSR activities has supported more than 500 women to earn livelihood through micro-enterprises.

Also Read: JSPL to Set up a 1400 acre Industrial Park at Parang in Angul

Women are involved in tailoring & stitching, making of herbal body care products,  diversified jute products, agarbatti making, low cost sanitary napkin making, terracotta, food preservation & processing etc.

Income of participating women ranges from Rs 800 to Rs 2000. JSPL provides supports in terms of capacity building, quality management as well as support for market linkage. Similarly, the company is consistently promoting agriculture in the local villages.

It has introduced advanced cost effective farming technology such as SRI method paddy cultivation, hybrid maise, poly house etc. JSPL also promotes organic farming, integrated pisciculture, fresh water farming. At the same time the company has been supporting   the farmers in  value addition of their farm produce as well as perennial  market linkage.

With all these livelihood and employment opportunities the economic and quality of life among people in and around the JSPL’s 6 MTPA Steel project has improved significantly which has been illustrated in NABCONS report on Socio economic impact study of Land acquisition.

However, the company is still not able to meet the soaring demand for employment because of several bottlenecks in the progress of the project. Though the first phase of the steel project of 1.5 MTPA capacity is almost complete, lack of assured raw material supply creates uncertainty for the future of the project.

Land acquisition and subsequent physical possession for second phase of the project is another key factor in accommodating more people for livelihood.

Now, to boost this community friendly endeavour of JSPL to create employment for the local people, all stakeholders have to support in a concerted manner so that both Project and the people succeed.

Unrealistic demand of jobs irrespective of the job potentials created and the genuinity or legality of such demands may sometime results in mindless triggering of social blockades.

That may likely paralyze the local prosperity both in terms of ground investment as well as direct and indirect employment generations.

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