Blackstone commits $5M to help India fight raging COVID-19 resurgence

The announcement comes on the heels of close to 40 major American companies committing millions of dollars to India country fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wall Street-headquartered alternative investment management giant Blackstone, which has over $20 billion in live-investments in the country, on Wednesday announced $5 million (close to Rs 40 crore) aid to help India to fight the raging coronavirus pandemic.

The announcement by Stephen A Schwarzman, the Founder and Chairman of the fund, comes on the heels of close to 40 major American companies committing millions of dollars to help the country fight the pandemic.

India has been topping the infection list globally for seven days, with daily caseload remaining above 3.25 lakh mark for almost a week now.

In a show of solidarity on Tuesday, heads of around 40 top American companies came together to create a global task force to mobilise resources to help fight the battle against the pandemic under the initiative of the US-India Business Council of the US Chambers of Commerce, and the US-India Strategic and Partnership Forum and Business Roundtable.

A day before this, chief of Google and its parent Alphabet Satya Nadella announced Rs 135 crore assistance to the country, which was soon followed up by the Sundar Pichai-headed Microsoft who did not quantify the funding.

Their commitments follow Sun Microsystems' co-founder Vinod Khosla on Saturday promising to help with a plane load of oxygen, and ecommerce major Amazon donating oxygen concentrators and other equipment to several hospitals.

American vaccine maker Gilead also announced Rs 20 crore worth of 4.5 lakh Remdesivir vials to the country through its India clinical trials partner Klinera on Tuesday.

We are committing $5 million (around Rs 40 crore) to support India's coronavirus relief and vaccination efforts, Schwarzman said this morning.

The assistance will be focused on providing and expanding healthcare services to the marginalised communities in rural and urban areas to tide over the impact of the pandemic, supporting frontline healthcare workers with PPEs and other essential supplies, he said.

The Blackstone chief executive also said a part of the money will also be used to address the severe shortage of oxygen concentrators and ventilators; and to assist vaccine education programmes as there is lot of vaccination hesistancy here, apart from assuring equitable distribution of vaccines as they become available.

"India is facing an alarming crisis from the pandemic and I am profoundly concerned about its human impact. Blackstone has deep roots in India having entered the country way back in 2006."

We need to corral our resources to support India's relief and vaccination efforts at this critical time. The international community is grateful to the frontline workers who are putting in tremendous efforts on behalf of all Indians, Schwarzman added.

India is one of Blackstone's most successful investment destination with the market that has been giving it the highest returns. It has over $20 billion in live investments in the country, valued at over $40 billion now.

Edited by Teja Lele Desai


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