Coronavirus: Here's how India Inc is doing its bit for the underprivileged during the COVID-19 crisis
With COVID-19 infecting 733 people in India so far, and the death toll reaching 20, a 21-day lockdown starting from Tuesday midnight was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. And while the lockdown is serving the purpose of social distancing, it has also made life very difficult for economically weaker sections of society.
After Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman confirmed on Monday that companies' expenditure to fight the COVID-19 pandemic will be considered valid under corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities, several corporations have come forward to do their part to fight the epidemic and its direct and indirect consequences.
On March 23, Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) said that it has provided an initial support of Rs 5 crore to the Maharashtra Chief Minister’s Relief Fund to help tackle the Covid-19 outbreak.
The company also said it is boosting production capacities to produce 100,000 face masks daily and a large number of personal protective equipment (PPE), such as suits and garments for the country's health workers to help them in their fight against the challenge posed by the pandemic.
RIL's Sir H. N. Reliance Foundation Hospital, in collaboration with Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), has also set up a dedicated 100-bed centre at Seven Hills Hospital in Mumbai for patients who test positive for COVID-19.
Reliance Foundation will provide free meals to people across various cities in partnership with NGOs and has built a fully-equipped isolation facility in Lodhivali, Maharashtra, and handed it over to district authorities.
Mahindra & Mahindra
Mahindra & Mahindra on Thursday said it expects to come up with a sophisticated ventilator for just Rs 7,500, which otherwise costs up to Rs 10 lakh, as it seeks to assist in combating the coronavirus pandemic.
To this, Mahindra Group Chairman Anand Mahindra applauded the efforts of Kandivali and Igatpuri, manufacturing teams who confined themselves to the factories and produced these prototype designs in 48 hours, without catching sleep.
The company said it is also working with two large PSUs along with an existing manufacturer of high spec ventilators to help them simplify design and scale up capacity.
The Bajaj Group has announced a Rs 100 crore aid for the fight against COVID-19.
This amount will be divided into various verticals with a major part earmarked for food and shelter to daily wage workers and homeless families. A part of it will also be used to support the upgradation of key healthcare infrastructure in Pune such as upgrading ICUs, procuring additional equipment like ventilators, personal protection items, enhancing testing, and setting up of isolation units in government and private sector hospitals.
Bajaj Group says it will work with the government along with a network of 200+ NGO partners to ensure that these resources reach the most needy.
MG Motor India
The carmaker, on Wednesday, announced that it will be donating Rs 2 crore in kind as medical aid. While one crore comes directly from the company, the rest one crore has been raised by its employees.
MG motor will be providing government hospitals and health institutions with medical equipment in Gurugram and Halol (Vadodara). These will help with hospitals to ensure the health and well-being of the economically weaker sections of society. A portion of the funds will also be earmarked for the well-being of medical staff and healthcare workers.
The contribution includes gloves, masks, ventilators, medicines, and hospital beds, depending on the particular requirement of a specific government hospital and health institution.
Co-living space provider, Stanza Living has set-up a dedicated Employee Contingency Fund, which is based on a voluntary contribution from its employees.
Employees of the company across 10+ cities have come forward to pledge a part of their salaries to the fund, while the co-founders have pledged 50 percent of their salaries.
This dedicated fund, which has collected Rs 10 lakh so far, has been set-up to cover basic medical expenses for any employee in need, in the unfortunate incidence of contraction of COVID-19.
The startup has also announced a host of employee-centric initiatives that are being undertaken to make the company function agilely through the COVID-19 pandemic. It is offering dedicated solutions for students and working professionals with an inventory of 55,000 beds across 10+ cities in India.
Urban Company, formerly UrbanClap, on Wednesday announced a partnership with the Srinidhi Foundation to set up a relief fund to support gig workers and independent contractors on its platform during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The fund will be used to provide sustenance support to 'deserving' individuals and their families over the next few months or until the situation returns to normalcy.
Urban Company, its founders, investors, and employees, have so far committed Rs 1.5 crore towards the fund.
Besides, it is also holding one-on-one remote counselling sessions for all its 30,000 gig workers.
Parle Products Pvt. Ltd
The FMCG major on Wednesday announced that it will donate three crore packs of Parle-G biscuits in the next three weeks to the underprivileged via government agencies.
Parle’s Senior Category Head, Mayank Shah, said, "We have decided to work with government agencies to donate three crore packs of biscuits -- one crore each in the next three weeks -- especially for people in need.”
The company’s manufacturing units are functioning with a 50 percent workforce in keeping with the government advisories to curb the further escalation of the coronavirus outbreak.
(Edited by Apoorva Puranik)