NEW DELHI, DEC 04, 2023
On International Day of Persons with Disabilities-2023 on Sunday, Vedanta Aluminium, India’s largest producer of aluminium, reaffirmed its commitment to bolstering diversity, equity, and inclusivity (DE&I) across the country’s manufacturing landscape. The company employs several differently-abled individuals within its operations at present. On the occasion, it organised numerous initiatives aimed at driving greater awareness around the challenges faced by the differently-abled, and how a more inclusive world can be created by being empathetic to their unique needs.
The company’s endeavour is especially significant, given the complexity of tasks in the heavy engineering, metals, and manufacturing sectors.
Differently-abled professionals at Vedanta Aluminium are provided specialized training from domain experts to excel in their respective responsibilities. These individuals, facing impairments ranging from loss of vision to limited mobility, have been strategically placed in roles that align most closely with their unique skillsets, spanning functions such as commercial, human resources, security, housekeeping, storekeeping, and carpentry.
On International Day of Persons with Disabilities-2023, the initiatives organised were a blend of both community awareness and employee sensitisation initiatives.
At its mega aluminium smelter at Jharsuguda in Odisha, Vedanta Aluminium organised an interaction between differently-abled employees, their family members and their extended team members. During the insightful session, the employees shed light on their experiences as differently-abled individuals. An awareness walkathon was also organized in collaboration with the Jharsuguda District Administration, with active participation from employees and community members.
Several employee volunteers from BALCO, India’s iconic aluminium producer at Korba in Chhattisgarh, also engaged with differently-abled children at the Divya Jyoti School, a government-run school for the differently abled, through activities such as inspirational storytelling and hand painting. Differently-abled employees from BALCO shared their own journey with the children, demonstrating that despite their challenges, the children too could aspire for a dignified, equitable future for themselves.
The company also launched specially designed learning modules on Menstrual Health Management for visually, speech & hearing-impaired children. In addition, it undertook a ‘Stitch My Own Pad’ campaign to help fight period poverty in rural areas. Women with disabilities face greater challenges in ensuring menstrual hygiene, often contending with the dual stigmas against menstruation and disabilities. Through this capacity building program, they are empowered to stitch their own reusable cloth pads, providing safe menstrual health management alternatives.
Meanwhile, at the company’s alumina refinery at Lanjigarh in Odisha, awareness and sensitization sessions were also undertaken for the students of Ambadola Samant Junior College, Rayagada, motivating them to better support those with special needs. An edutainment initiative was also held, with people tuning in to watch films spotlighting challenges faced by the differently-abled and their grit in overcoming the same. Over 50 such screenings were organised in a span of three days at the company’s Nand Ghars, which are modern anganwadis supported by Vedanta Aluminium as hubs of women and child development. The company also plans to hold an identification and appliance support camp for differently-abled persons in close association with ‘Jaipur Foot’, an NGO that provides prosthetic limbs and other mobility aids free of cost to those in need.
On the occasion, Vedanta Aluminium CEO John Slaven said, “At Vedanta Aluminium, we believe that embracing diversity is not just a moral imperative but a strategic advantage. By hiring differently-abled individuals and ensuring that their diverse professional needs are met, we aim to create a workplace where unique perspectives contribute to our collective success. Our efforts focus on building a truly inclusive workplace that not only embraces diversity but also harnesses it for exponential growth and innovation. This has enabled us to remain at the forefront of people practices in the industry while also ensuring an equitable approach towards achieving sustainable progress.”
Vedanta Aluminium endeavours to build the capabilities of its differently-abled employees to handle job responsibilities at par with their colleagues and successfully join the socio-economic mainstream. The company facilitates this inclusion through a five-step strategy: Identifying potential individuals for hiring; Comprehensive skill-focused training by experts; Fostering an enabling environment via sensitisation sessions; Deploying supportive policies and processes; and Infrastructure enhancements that ensure equitable approaches and accessibility.
Hiring differently-abled personnel offers an opportunity for businesses to go beyond standardised approaches and focus on building a workplace that is truly inclusive. This outlook involves implementing safety measures, such as specialized alerts for hearing-impaired individuals, and process enhancements, like procuring customized tools that enhance mobility for those with mobility impairments. Moreover, Vedanta Aluminium has assigned dedicated Human Resources Business Partners to assist the professionals in accessing appropriate government services such as issuance of disability certificates.
Vedanta Aluminium, a business of Vedanta Limited, is India’s largest producer of aluminium, manufacturing more than half of India’s aluminium i.e., 2.29 million tonnes in FY23. It is a leader in value-added aluminium products that find critical applications in core industries. Vedanta Aluminium ranks 2nd in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) 2022 world rankings for aluminium industry, a reflection of its sustainable development practices. With its world-class aluminium smelters, alumina refinery and power plants in India, the company fulfils its mission of spurring emerging applications of aluminium as the ‘Metal of the Future’ for a greener tomorrow.