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8th May 2024

At BALCO, inclusivity is at the core of its aluminium operations

“Aluminium production is a team effort, and I am proud to contribute alongside my colleagues,” says Bhavani a trans-employee working as a forklift operator at BALCO. In Korba district of Chhattisgarh, there are many inspiring stories of empowerment, like Bhavani’s, that serve as beacons of hope for trans-persons in the community.

BALCO, India’s iconic aluminium producer and a unit of Vedanta Aluminium, boasts a workforce of 17 transgender employees, each sharing their journey of transformation from isolation to a strong sense of identity. From inducting 7 transgender employees in the year 2022, BALCO has marked a significant milestone in increasing inclusivity with its industry-leading people practices. These employees take on various roles, from forklift operations and store management to security positions, becoming vital contributors to BALCO’s operations and security.

Deepa vividly remembers her initial nerves when she started working in the security function at BALCO. While she takes pride in her job, she credits her supportive manager for helping her navigate challenges, helping her grow personally and professionally.

On the other hand, Akansha Soni, a supervisor in the forklift garage stated, “BALCO has been a guardian for all the hired transgenders.” She highlighted how job security can do wonders in boosting a person’s confidence and reflected, “BALCO has supported my dreams and helped me realize my potential. Today, my confidence drives me to work as a supervisor in the forklift garage, managing forklift operations with gusto. I also contribute to the safety of the plant by ensuring the highest standards of safety by promoting the use of appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs).”

Showcasing gratitude for the respect and identity she has received for her work, Akanksha recalls how her fear has transitioned into confidence, which gives her the ability to stand tall in society. Recalling the benefits of the gender reaffirmation policy, she further acknowledged “It used to take us years to plan and execute the gender reassignment surgery but with the support of BALCO’s policies, LGBTQ+ employees have got a benefit of 30 days of paid leave and compensation of 2 lakh rupees for the gender reassignment surgery.”

Speaking of the company’s reward and recognition policies, Ayesha, a security personnel at BALCO, said, “My performance here is duly recognized and appreciated. I have recently been awarded for my performance ensuring round-the-clock security in the plant. These kinds of recognitions motivate me to do better each day.”

Appreciating the initiatives, Ms. Vidya Rajput, a member of the Transgender Welfare Society and the President of Chhattisgarh Mitwa Sankalp Samiti, expressed her gratitude towards BALCO’s commitment to advocating and inspiring inclusion within and around its operations while setting a remarkable example for its peers to follow.

In its steadfast dedication to nurturing an inclusive workplace, BALCO adopts a strategic three-pronged approach. Firstly, the company embraces inclusive hiring practices, evaluating and identifying transgenders displaying appropriate skills essential for working within core operations through skill mapping studies. Secondly, it focuses on the comprehensive skill augmentation of operational skills, soft skills, and business knowledge to build their acumen for profound impact at work. Finally, BALCO enables an inclusive atmosphere through gender-sensitization sessions and gender-neutral infrastructure, cultivating a workplace culture that thrives on understanding and respect.

The ‘CII National HR Excellence Award 2023-24 for ‘Significant Achievement in HR’ is testament to BALCO’s consistent pursuit towards excellence in people practices and fostering an environment where every individual feels respected, valued, and empowered.

Bharat Aluminium Company Limited (BALCO) is India’s iconic aluminium producer. It is owned 51% by Vedanta Limited and 49% by the Government of India. BALCO is part of Vedanta’s Aluminium Business, a division of Vedanta Limited, which is India’s largest producer of aluminium, manufacturing more than half of India’s aluminium i.e., 2.37 million tonnes in FY24. It is a leader in value-added aluminium products that find critical applications in core industries. Vedanta Aluminium ranks 1st in the S&P Global Corporate Sustainability Assessment 2023 world rankings for the aluminium industry, a reflection of its leading 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.

About Vedanta Limited

Vedanta Limited, a subsidiary of Vedanta Resources Limited, is one of the world’s leading Oil & Gas and Metals company with significant operations in Oil & Gas, Zinc, Lead, Silver, Copper, Iron Ore, Steel, and Aluminium & Power across India, South Africa, Namibia, and Australia. For two decades, Vedanta has been contributing significantly to nation building. Governance and sustainable development are at the core of Vedanta's strategy, with a strong focus on health, safety, and environment. Giving back is in the DNA of Vedanta, which is focused on enhancing the lives of local communities. Under the aegis of Vedanta Cares, the flagship social impact program, Nand Ghars have been set up as model anganwadis focused on eradicating child malnutrition, providing education, healthcare, and empowering women with skill development. Vedanta and its group companies have been featured in Dow Jones Sustainability Index 2020, and were conferred Frost & Sullivan Sustainability Awards 2020, CII Environmental Best Practices Award 2020, CSR Health Impact Award 2020, CII National Award 2020 for Excellence in Water Management, CII Digital Transformation Award 2020, ICSI National Award 2020 for excellence in Corporate Governance, People First HR Excellence Award 2020, ‘Company with Great Managers 2020’ by People Business and certified as a Great Place to Work 2021. Vedanta’s flagship Nand Ghar Project was identified as best CSR project by the Government of Rajasthan. Vedanta Limited is listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange and the National Stock Exchange in India and has ADRs listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

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