The Sir Ratan Tata Trust is one of India’s oldest grant-bestowing foundations. It was established in 1918, following the death of Sir Ratan Tata, and it operates in accordance with his will. Sir Ratan wanted to establish a trust that would help further “the advancement of education, learning and industry in all its branches”.
The Trust broadly makes two types of grants :
> Institutional grants, under which come programme grants, endowment grants and small grants.
> Individual grants, which are medical and education grants.
The following areas of involvement have been earmarked while extending programme grants :
> Rural livelihoods and communities
> Arts and culture
> Civil Society and governance
Rural livelihoods and communities
Enhancing rural livelihoods and strengthening rural communities is the aim of the Trust’s grant-making endeavours. Within this theme the Trust focuses on two broad areas :
Land and water development : Some of the key grants made here focus on the following specific interventions:
> Water-sector research : The Trust’s initiatives in land and water development are supported by research initiatives that seek solutions on water-related issues.
> Central India initiative (CInI) : Started to address the issues of land and water development in the resource-rich but poor tribal areas of Central India, this initiative supports various organisations.
> Gujarat salinity prevention and mitigation initiative: Launched by the Trust and its partners, this deals with the problem of salinity ingress, which has rendered vast tracts of land infertile in the coastal areas of Gujarat. The initiative has been renamed as Kharash Vistarotthan Yojna.
> Resolving the Himalayan dilemma: This is a major initiative launched by the Trust, along with partner organisations, to address the crying issues of food, water and employment in the central Himalayan region. The initiative has been renamed as Himmothan Pariyojana.
> Reviving the green revolution : The Trust actively supports the efforts of agricultural organisations in promoting agricultural diversification in Punjab to revive the green revolution.
> Drought-proofing in Rajasthan: Supporting organisations to create lasting solutions, by evolving technological and organisational innovations for integrated development of drought prone areas of Rajasthan. Support is also given for drought relief activities in West Rajasthan.
Micro-finance: The Trust has encouraged the promotion of saving and credit groups, with a view to organise communities, improve access to credit, and encourage asset creation. Regional initiatives in Rajasthan and South India have been strengthened for promoting livelihoods and reducing vulnerabilities.
The Trust also encourages deeper linkages between micro-finance and development, through a focus on under-served areas and communities. To bolster these efforts, the Trust also supports research in micro-finance, besides supporting programmes in community-based health financing.
The Trust has been committed to improving the quality of education in India through efforts in the following areas:
School-based education : This is done by enhancing the quality of teaching and providing value additions in government schools to make learning an invigorating experience, minimise dropouts, and increase the involvement of children in the learning process through innovative, child-friendly methods.
Out-of school education : The specific educational needs of marginalised children are met through specially set up camps.
Education management : This is done through research that improves management training for government officers of the education department and school administration. Higher education: This happens by strengthening the reengineering efforts of existing institutions, and through institution-based fellowships in the field of development.
In this sphere the Trust focuses its efforts in the following areas :
Community-based health programme : These programmes focus on evolving innovative delivery systems.
Specialised care for the disadvantaged : This includes mental health and hospice care.
Developing programme effectiveness : This is done by building organisational capacities and human resources through fellowships for specialised training.
Research in public health : This is done by lending support to research in specific diseases such as tuberculosis and cancer.
> Arts and culture
To invigorate institutions and work towards developing new audiences, the Trust concentrates its support in the following areas:
Energising traditional arts: This is done by lending support to institutions involved in giving a
fresh lease of life to traditional art and craft forms in India.
Supporting contemporary art forms : This is done in order to break new ground and actively develop the field.
Archives and preservation : Support through grants is given to institutions to maintain their artifacts and processes, and to archive their documents.
Research and education in the field : Support is given to institutions building knowledge of
indigenous cultural practices.
> Civil society and governance
The Trust focuses its grants in this sphere on the following areas :
Citizen interface with public systems: To encourage better governance by creating awareness of the quality of elected representatives, and by increasing scrutiny of the polling process.
Bringing professionalism to the third sector : Increasing the effectiveness of public voluntary efforts.
Building knowledge and awareness about non-profit sector governance: Towards supporting institutions in enhancing the capacities of panchayti-raj institutions, besides promotion of people’s participation in governance through the strengthening of panchayats.
In order to sustain mission-driven institutions that are instruments for positive change, the Trust has developed and used endowments as a tool. Since 1997 the Trust has formulated a formal endowment strategy with well-set norms and clearly defined criteria that enable it to identical and appraise deserving institutions.
This is no formal procedure for application, but organisations with the following strengths are considered for endowments:
> The activities of the organisation should be closely integrated with the thematic areas of the Trust, and should have a satisfactory and mutually rewarding programme partnership with the Trust.
> The organisation should have an impact on society or be strategic in a sector of the field.
> The organisation should demonstrate staying power.
> The organisation should have an established tradition of collective leadership.
> The organisation should have a proven track record of being mission driven.
Launched in 1998-99, these catters to the needs of small, welfare-oriented organisations, and those needing support to implement innovative ideas. Small organisations, with a life span of at least a year, expenditure not exceeding Rs. 2 million in the last financial year, and employing not more than 20 people, are eligible for these grants. Grant limits have been raised to a maximum of Rs. 0.5 million per year per grant.
Larger organisations can also apply for:
> Strategic planning and/or exercise:
> focused research activities:
> mainstreaming of innovations:
> setting up or strengthening of internal systems:
> project planning and appraisal:
The Trust also awards grants to individuals, largely for medical and educational purposes.
Grants are disbursed to patients requiring assistance towards treatment expenses. The financial aid given may be impart, or whole, depending on the merit of the case. Over the years the Trust has built links with specific departments of reputed hospitals to obtain recommendations for patients deserving financial assistance, an interacts with social workers at these hospitals to ensure appropriate selection and speedy processing. Currently, the Trust has linkages with 19 hospitals across India. The Trust sanctioned Rs. 59.55 million towards support for 1973 patients in 2002-03.
The Trust supports individuals for higher education through:
Merit scholarships : These are for higher studies in India and are awarded to academically outstanding students, primarily for undergraduate professional courses in engineering and medicine. Awards are also given to scholars pursuing postgraduate courses in fine arts and literature, law, the social sciences, information technology, and education. Though the award of the Trust is on merit, the amount varies according to the family’s socio-economic standing. The programme begins in September each year.
Travel grants: These are used to provide part-travel assistance for individuals, particularly scholars, for postgraduate and doctoral courses, doctors from municipals and government hospitals, and professionals for mid-career programme, or to attend relevant and meaningful seminars and conferences.
During 2002-03 the Trust sanctioned Rs. 25.69 million as educational grants to 1,774 scholars.
Sir Ratan Tata Trust,
Bombay House, Homi Mody Street, Mumbai – 400 001, India
Tel : +91 – 22 – 5665 8282, Fax: +91 – 22 – 5665 8013
E-mail : [email protected]