Bhubaneswar: Vedanta Aluminium, India’s largest producer of aluminium and value-added products, celebrated International Women’s Day at its alumina refinery at Lanjigarh, and aluminium & power operations at Jharsuguda, in Odisha. As a part of the celebration, various interactive sessions, awareness drives and community engagement activities like mass plantation, week-long menstrual hygiene awareness campaign, etc. were conducted.
The commemoration started with Smt. Smriti Zubin Irani, Hon’ble Minister of Women and Child Development, and Textiles, virtually addressing the Vedanta employees on 8th March in the presence of Mr. Anil Agarwal, Executive Chairman – Vedanta Resources Limited, and his daughter, Ms. Priya Agarwal Hebbar, Non-Executive Director. In a separate session, Mr. Anil Agarwal and Ms. Priya Agarwal Hebbar also had a candid virtual conversation with all employees of Vedanta and their spouses, on the focus of the organization to ensure gender parity and greater inclusivity of women at all levels of decision making.
Marking the occasion, Mr. Rahul Sharma, Dy. CEO – Aluminium Business, Vedanta Ltd., said, “The manufacturing industry has traditionally been male dominated. But, for us at Vedanta, to be a metals’ giant with one of the highest gender diversity ratios in the country, is something we take great pride in. We treat every role as absolutely gender-neutral, which has led to women leading all facets of core functions, from Operations & Maintenance, Security, R&D, Marketing, Finance and HR, right up to operating cranes. As India’s largest aluminium producer, we strive to build a culture that fosters meritocracy and excellence. This enables us to build a vibrant and inclusive environment that allows our greatest asset – our people – to thrive.”
Celebrating the occasion with beneficiaries of ‘Sakhi’, its women empowerment project in Lanjigarh, Vedanta organized various engaging activities themed on ‘Choose to Challenge’. At Jharsuguda, the company collaborated with the all-women Subhalaxmi Co-operative to felicitated top-performing women entrepreneurs and Self-Help Groups (SHGs). It also conducted weeklong menstrual hygiene awareness sessions in many villages, reaching out to more than 200 adolescent girls and women members of Subhalaxmi Co-op.
Speaking at the event, Mr. Sukanta Majhi, Additional Project Director, District Rural Development Agency (PD, DRDA), Jharsuguda, said, “Vedanta’s efforts and commitment towards empowering the community women is appreciable. I am certain that the company will continue to provide its support in the further development of women.”
An equal opportunity employer, Vedanta’s value system epitomizes the two fundamental pillars – diversity and inclusion. Some of its best practices, highlights and notable initiatives which enable women to deliver their best are:
• All job roles across the aluminium and power value-chain are gender-agnostic.
• Currently, Vedanta’s Odisha operations employee more than 1,200 women professionals, leading core functions like Smelter and Power operations, Safety, Security, Infrastructure, Commercial, Marketing, Innovation, Logistics, and many more.
• In its latest initiative to build a pipeline of future women leaders, Vedanta has launched V-LEAD (Diversity Development Programme) to identify highly potential women candidates early on and groom them into leadership roles. The company has also launched V-REACH, a programme that seeks to identify and develop young leaders from the graduate employees’ cadre and map them to significantly elevated roles.
• At Jharsuguda, the company has formed an all-women fire-fighting team ‘Agnivahini’, who have been meticulously trained to act effectively and efficiently in emergency situations.
• At Lanjigarh, the Central Control Room (CCR) is entirely managed by women engineers and operators. The CCR manages the alumina refinery’s key operational and technical processes with advanced control systems.
• Subhalaxmi Co-operative, Vedanta’s marquee project in sustainable livelihood and women empowerment at Jharsuguda, is one of India’s largest women co-operatives with a membership base of more than 4100 women. It promotes sustainable livelihood opportunities among rural women, creating avenues for entrepreneurship through skill development and microfinance support.
Vedanta is one of the largest investors in Odisha, with investment of approx. INR 50,000 crores over the years, with deep interventions in the areas of women’s financial literacy and empowerment, sustainable livelihood, education, healthcare, and infrastructure development. Vedanta continues to be a transformative force in the state’s socio-economic landscape.