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Ardeshir Dalal: The man who pioneered workers’ benefits in Tata Steel

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Jamshedpur, April 23: Sir Ardeshir Dalal was born on April 24, 1884, in Bombay to Rustomjee Dalal, a share-broker. He graduated from Elphinstone College, Bombay. Sir Dalal received the J N Tata Scholarship in 1905, and went to England for higher studies. He appeared in Indian Civil Service (ICS) examination and stood first. He joined ICS in 1908. Sir Dalal became the first Indian to become Municipal Commissioner of Bombay in 1928.

Sir Ardeshir Dalal joined Tata Group as Director of Tata Steel in 1931 and served till 1941, and once again from 1945 till his death in 1949. He was responsible for introducing profit sharing bonus scheme in Tata Steel in 1934, one of the many labour welfare measures (e.g. eight hour working day, leave with pay, maternity benefit, etc.) introduced for the first time by any private or public organisations in India. The scheme was later adopted by the Indian Government. He also supported the Indianisation programme which led to the appointment of Indians in key positions in Tata Steel. This led to gaining confidence of the labour force and addressing their grievances in a better way.

Sir Dalal started the first in-house bilingual (English and Hindi) publication, TISCO Review, in 1932. The publication carried several articles including Departmental Notes, Sports Gossip, Travelogue, Welfare Notes, etc.

He was knighted as Knight Commander (KCIE) in 1939. In June 1944, the then Viceroy of India, Lord Wavell, invited him to join the Executive Council as Member-in-Charge of Planning and Development. He was one of the architects of the Government of India’s plan formulated in 1945. He was one of the eight authors of the Bombay Plan published in 1944. He was made Vice Chairman in 1947.

Sir Ardeshir Dalal passed away on October 8, 1949. The hospital-cum-nursing college, Ardeshir Dalal Memorial Hospital, in Jamshedpur, is named in his honour.

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