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Chairman’s AGM Speech – 2021

My dear Shareholders,

Good afternoon. On behalf of the Board of Directors, I warmly welcome you all to the 56th Annual General Meeting of your Company. I pray that you, your families, and near and dear ones continue to remain safe and healthy.

The last time the world experienced a global pandemic was over one hundred years ago. Our Prime Minister and the Government have strived and succeeded in mitigating the impact to a great extent. I thank them for that. Apart from the government, each Indian has also acted like a leader reaching out to help the other.

The core philosophy of your company is to “give back.” I am proud that the Vedanta family too rose to the occasion to support local communities, migrant workers, feed stray animals, set up field hospitals, diverted oxygen from our plants for medical use. We have vaccinated more than 1 lakh employees, business partners, and families and plan to facilitate 5 lakh vaccinations for communities as well.

The 10 field hospitals that were set up in record time have proved to be an invaluable support, with best of equipment and treatment, that will again be a boon to save lives if the third wave hits us, as predicted.

India is at the cusp of an economic transformation. In coming years, India will grow from a $2.6 trillion economy to a $5 trillion economy and then a $10 trillion economy. Today, mining contributes 1.5% to GDP while metals contribute an additional 2%. The GDP contribution of mining and metals must double, possibly even treble. It is the only way to avoid import dependence of the kind we have seen in crude oil. Policy regimes are changing for the good. Fortunately, the Government has a clear plan for an Atmanirbhar Bharat.

With the outlook for mineral-led growth looking robust, we at Vedanta are committed to nation building and to bring in future investments of up to $20 billion across our businesses, which will play a crucial role in the overall economic growth.

In aluminum, we are already India’s largest producer. We aim to double our production of silver, which is not only a precious metal but has uses in high-tech industry and renewable energy. In steel, which is a significant component of our business, we intend to double our capacity. The acquisition of FACOR and its niche ferro-alloys business is yet another example of our diversification and future readiness.

The demand for oil in absolute terms will continue to rise for many years and we are committed to increasing our domestic production in oil and gas by upto 50 per cent.

Along with an economic transformation, India is also beginning an energy transition. The Government has rightly committed to reduce emissions to combat climate change. The world is going to move towards a more materials-intensive economy which will need to be supported by a robust mining and metals industry. Let me give two examples. Electric vehicles use 6 times the mineral inputs, including copper, aluminium, lithium and cobalt, than a regular vehicle. On-shore wind infrastructure used 9 times more mineral inputs than a gas-fired power plant.

Technology and digitalization are at the heart of each business. Vedanta implemented industry-first digital smelters at one of its plants in Jharsuguda, Odisha. Hindustan Zinc has developed technologies to efficiently manage operations remotely. We have launched the Vedanta Spark programme to encourage startups and a create a more robust MSME ecosystem in the mining and metals space.

We have emerged stronger, wiser and more future-ready. Vedanta reported the highest-ever EBITDA of ₹ 27,341 crore, 30% higher year-on-year. Revenue for FY2021 was at ₹ 86,863 crore, higher by 4% year on year. The company has contributed Rs 2.7 lakh crore to the exchequer in the past ten years. Vedanta’s operations contribute 1 per cent to India’s GDP, according to the IFC report.

The proposed amendment of retrospective income tax is a welcome step and will have a positive impact on our group.  It shall resolve major ongoing tax litigations amounting to approximately Rs 22,000 crores.

ESG is at the core of Vedanta’s operations. We have pledged to plant 10 million trees across our 17 locations every year.

For us `Zero Harm, Zero Waste, Zero Discharge’ is non-negotiable. Last year, we committed to substantially de-carbonize the business by 2050 and voluntarily pledged to move towards carbon neutrality. Our ESG focus is being recognised globally. Hindustan Zinc was ranked number 1 and Vedanta Number 2 in the Dow Jones Sustainability Asia Pacific ranking.

We have released the first Climate Change Report in line with the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), becoming the first Indian metals and mining company to do so.

At Vedanta, while profit is important, purpose is crucial. We have pledged Rs 5,000 crore over the next 5 years on ambitious social impact programmes focused on nutrition, women & child development, healthcare, animal welfare, and grass root level sports.

Our new initiative — ‘Swasth Gaon Abhiyaan’ —aims to strengthen healthcare services in 1,000 villages across 12 states, impacting over 20 lakh people. We are scaling up our flagship project Nand Ghar. Our 2,400 model Anganwadis aim to impact the lives of 7 crore children and 2 crore women.

We have been recognised as a “Great Place to Work”-Certified organization. We have about 20% representation of women in senior leadership positions. The vision is to achieve 33% gender diversity across all levels.

I would like to welcome three new Directors to the board, Mr. D.D. Jalan, Mr. Akhilesh Joshi, and Ms. Padmini Somani. And bid farewell to outgoing directors, Ms. Lalita Gupte and Mr. K. Venkatramanan.

Vedanta is on course to deliver sustainable long-term returns to all its stakeholders. I would like to thank our parent company, Vedanta Resources Limited, for all its support without which we would not be where we are today.

Before I conclude, I would thank our shareholders, board of directors, customers, business partners, central and state governments, local communities, advisors, banks & financial institutions – and our 1 lakh strong extended family, who make Vedanta the company we are today.

Visually Impaired: 161 Hearing Impaired: 77 Color Blindness: 282