The increasing outlay reflects the change in approach under the Chairmanship of Ratan Tata
Tata Trusts, India's oldest and largest philanthropy initiative, will cross Rs 1,000 crore in disbursals in 2017-18, a first in its 126-year history. The new milestone underlines the change in the Trusts' approach under the chairmanship of Ratan Tata.
Tata Trusts consists of Sir Dorabji Tata Trust & Allied Trusts, and Sir Ratan Tata Trust & Allied Trusts.
The Trusts' total disbursements was about Rs 950 crores in 2016-17, up from about Rs 800 crore a year earlier. A sharp increase was seen in the disbursals of Sir Dorabji Tata Trust.
"There has been an increase. The disbursements, inter se, among individual trusts can vary from year to year," a spokesperson told Moneycontrol.
While he declined to comment on the total outlay crossing the Rs 1,000-crore mark in the 2017-18 financial year, all signs point towards the upcoming milestone.
"We cannot guide on projections. But directionally, besides grant-making, the Trusts are going to execute large programmes through direct implementation and partnerships," the spokesperson said.
In 2010, the Trusts had disbursed Rs 500 crore. The amount has doubled in eight years, fueled by a change in approach in 2014 under Ratan Tata's watch.
Ratan Tata had retired from Tata Sons in 2012 but in a break from the tradition - past chairmen have chosen to hand over reigns of Trusts to their successors - continued to shoulder the traditional family responsibility.
In 2014, the Trusts redefined its approach. Till then, the Trusts would depend on NGOs to implement the project for which funds were disbursed. Not any more.
"No longer are we merely the founders of initiatives; we have widened our view on the nature of our philanthropic interventions to become enablers," Ratan Tata wrote in his message in the 2016-17 annual report of the Trusts.
"The redefining of our approach and our purpose - an exercise that began in 2014 - has resulted in Tata Trusts shifting from only grant giving to also include direct implementation," he added.
The change has seen the Trusts tying up with some of the biggest names to push its initiatives. It tied up with MIT to promote technology-enabled learning in rural schools, and teamed up with Google to take internet to women.
"Over the last five years, the Trusts have taken up large nation-wide programmes, within their seven portfolios backed by two platforms. Among them are cancer care, nutrition to improve maternal and child health, sanitation, better-income livelihoods in rural India, data-driven governance, nurturing talent in sports, education of children aged 3 to 18, promoting innovation and entrepreneurship, and likewise," said the spokesperson.