Hope in Times of Despair

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The country’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic is raging with more cases emerging daily. It is important to note that we need to continue to fight the battle with even more determination and focus. Our medical workers need our wholehearted support not only logistically, but emotionally and psychologically as well. Distressing scenes of tired, hungry migrant workers travelling by foot with their children and belongings in tow trying to return to their native villages have left the country reeling with guilt and agony. Reading about the police force’s strenuous hours on duty, with many of them being affected by the virus as well has made us even more despondent. People losing their jobs, be it a low-paying or high-paying one, have had a tremendous impact on those affected. But let our inner strength, kindness, compassion be multiplied even more at this time so we can lend a helping hand to the neediest, the ones who have no one to turn to. As we have been reading and watching about the different relief measure in different forms being meted by different groups, may our faith in humanity be strengthened, and may we not give up this fight. Read on to know more about these different relief measures.

Samsung India 

Samsung India contributed INR Two Crore to the Tamil Nadu State Disaster Management Authority to support the State’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. The Company also handed over grocery packets to the authorities for distribution amongst thousands of distressed migrant and non-regular workers in the districts of Kanchipuram and Cuddalore.

The State’s Disaster Management Authority will be utilising the funds to procure Personal Preventive Equipment (PPE) kits, ventilators and medical consumables, creation of quarantine, isolation facilities and public healthcare infrastructure; and towards supplying ration to migrant labour and the homeless in the State. In addition, the grocery packets will help thousands of migrant and non-regular workers in Kanchipuram and Cuddalore districts to manage their daily requirements for approximately two weeks.

Samsung has earmarked INR 20 Crore to support the Central Government as well as State Governments in their fight against the pandemic. It has recently contributed INR 15 Crore to the PM-CARES Fund.

Thiru MC Sampath, Minister for Industries, Tamil Nadu said: “Tamil Nadu government welcomes the contribution from Samsung India in our fight against this pandemic. This will go a long way in fulfilling that vision and strengthen our bonds with the Company which has a large manufacturing unit in Sriperumbudur.”

“Corporates have an important role in supporting governments and community during the crisis such as the one we are facing right now. In Tamil Nadu, while we continue to support the community around our manufacturing unit in Sriperumbudur, we also engage with local authorities to understand how Samsung can contribute meaningfully. Our contribution to the Tamil Nadu State Disaster Management Authority is a part of that commitment,” said Peter Rhee, Corporate Vice President, Samsung India.

In addition, Samsung employees across India are putting together their personal contribution. The Company will match the employee contribution and donate the total amount to the PM-CARES Fund in the coming weeks.

These new measures come on the back of Samsung’s support to local administrations and communities, providing hospitals with medical equipment required in the preventive drive against the pandemic. So far Samsung has provided thousands of Preventive Masks and Personal Preventive Equipment (PPE) kits to hospitals. PPE kits are an essential preventive healthcare utility and each kit includes: Surgeon Gown, Face Mask, Gloves, Preventive Eyewear, Hood Cap and Shoe Cover.

Over the last few weeks, as part of its citizenship program Samsung Smart Healthcare, Samsung has hastened deliveries of Digital X-ray and Ultrasound machines to government hospitals. The most recent deliveries of the equipment have been to hospitals in Noida, Rajkot and Pune that have been designated as Covid-19 facilities. The Samsung Digital X-ray and Digital Ultrasound machines will aid in quick diagnostics.

Samsung salutes all professionals working tirelessly on the frontline of this battle.

Dept. of Consumer Affairs, Safejob and Seekify

In a fantastic example of multiple public and private stakeholders coming together overnight to solve an urgent problem in COVID times, the Government of India’s Department of Consumer Affairs partnered with tech startups Seekjob and Seekify to use technology to prevent the spread of the pandemic at the local Kirana store level.

The Suraksha Store initiative is designed for the health and safety of the people of India during and after the lockdown, amid the global pandemic. The primary objective of this project is to educate Kirana store owners across the country about COVID-19 safety guidelines and protocols required to be followed while running their businesses. The protocols were decided by FSSAI and MHA and included norms around social distancing and hygiene at all retail outlets. The objective was to allow consumers to use the Aarogya Setu app to find a Suraksh Store near them and shop at peace and safety.

The challenge was to get this to two million retailers in a matter of days or weeks. It could only be done with technology and with the help of nimble tech start-ups.

Seekify, a Sequoia’s Surge-funded company, has developed an online learning software. They partnered with Safejob to quickly build a custom solution for registering Kirana store owners, their employees, capturing their location and allowing them to complete online training and certification – all on mobile and optimised for rural and low bandwidth areas.

Safejob, an NSDC partner and training expert, was quickly able to develop and deploy training material in eight languages as well as an assessment to ensure that they can be certified to be aware of the Suraksha norms.

As a testament to the success of this, the initiative was able to reach out to more than five lakh stores within a week of launch. Currently, over seven lakh retailers have enrolled for this training and over 70 thousand Kirana employees have completed the awareness training. You can visit www.surakshastore.com for more information.

Speaking about the initiative, Divya Jain, Founder, Safejob said, “We were extremely proud and grateful when the Department of Consumer Affairs, Govt. of India approached us with an opportunity to serve the country during these tough times. Within a week of ideation, we were able to build the technology required to onboard and train these store owners. And all of this was done while we were all safe and staying inside our homes.”

Arihant Jain and Ajeet Kushwaha, Co-founders of Seekfy said in an official statement: “We have always believed that technology is a powerful tool that can create a massive impact in people’s lives and our world at large. The Suraksha Store is a perfect example of the speed and scale at which we were able to use technology to solve a simple yet impactful problem that will contribute to flattening the curve for India. We are proud to serve our nation.”

PNB Housing Finance 

Sustaining its commitment of contributing towards the well-being of healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, with the able guidance of the Principal Scientific Advisor’s (PSA) Office to the Prime Minister, GoI, PNB Housing Finance Limited (PNBHFL) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with IIT Delhi (Indian Institute of Technology). The initiative will support critical research and development (R&D) of a unique prototype material to be used in manufacturing sustainable (washable and reusable) PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) surgical gowns and masks. These will then be supplied to notable government hospitals.

Through this MoU, PNBHFL will support the Department of Textile and Fibre Engineering, IIT Delhi in fast-tracked R&D of high-quality PPE material. The cloth technology developed under this initiative will help in producing affordable, sustainable and reusable PPEs. The prototype will be tested at government-accredited labs.

The main objective of the current research is designing and developing critical PPE face masks and surgical gowns using Jacquard knitting technology. The knit construction for the mask will be optimised for a secure 3D-fit around the face with a layer of melt-blown, non-woven material in between ensuring efficient filtration/barrier protection with good breathability. For the gown, the fabric and lamination process can be engineered in achieving a stretchable, non-permeable gown adhering to international standards.

Typically, PPEs are made from a material that is both impermeable to fluids and ‘breathable’ – filtering the air before breathing. Thereby, healthcare workers can wear them with minimal heat stress. Some PPEs can be easily washed with soap and water for reuse. Cotton or spun synthetic material is used for isolation gowns, depending on whether these are for one-time use or to be laundered and reused. For masks/respirators, filtration of air before inhalation ensures respiratory protection. The most popular is the N95 mask – capable of blocking any particles less than five microns in diameter. With the availability of this technology for production of PPEs, PNBHFL and IIT-Delhi hope to bridge the gap in the availability of high-quality, sustainable PPEs for healthcare workers.

Elaborating on the initiative, Neeraj Vyas, Managing Director and CEO of PNB Housing Finance said, “The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered an unprecedented lockdown in many geographies globally. We believe all public and private stakeholders must contribute to stopping its spread. As part of our societal responsibilities, PNBHFL has joined hands with IIT-Delhi in ensuring we contribute to the national effort in flattening the COVID-19 curve. Through this partnership, we can play a small yet meaningful role in safeguarding the well-being of our frontline warriors, who are risking their lives by putting service before self, day after day.”

Praising the initiative, Dr Sapna Poti, COVID-19 Special Task Force, Principal Scientific Advisor’s Office, GoI said “The Covid-19 pandemic situation is globally unprecedented. Our healthcare workers, scientists and law enforcement officials are working relentlessly to combat the virus. At this juncture, it is essential that their efforts are supplemented in every way possible. The initiative by IIT-Delhi and PNBHFL is of grave importance as the availability of sustainable and reusable low-cost PPE will empower a larger number of healthcare workers to fight the disease.”

Discussing the initiative, Professor Bipin Kumar, Department of Textile and Fiber Engineering, IIT-Delhi said, “Along with the challenge of meeting PPE demands in the country due to the COVID 19 crisis, another threat looms ahead- the disposal of PPEs (including mask and cover-alls) after one-time use. Though a non-woven layer is must for ensuring desired filtration level the loose fibrous structure in locally available PPE makes the product disposable after one-time use. Disposing off synthetic polypropylene non-woven PPE can result in serious environmental consequences. Finding other textile solutions that offer reusability, biodegradability, affordability and scalability for PPEs is truly the need of the hour as it serves the dual purpose of supporting healthcare workers and protecting our environment.”

APM Terminals Pipavav 

To assist and ensure the well-being of healthcare personnel who are fighting this pandemic at the forefront, APM Terminals Pipavav provided PPE kits to the district administration for the COVID-19 hospital at Amreli district.  The consignment included masks, face shields, protective full suits, disposable bed sheets, disposable pillow covers, etc.  These PPE kits will be used by the frontline health warriors, working in the district hospital to protect the community during this pandemic.In these challenging times, healthcare workers are working day and night to serve the community. This is a small contribution from the port to protect healthcare workers by ensuring their safety.

Khabri

Khabri, India’s fastest growing Hindi digital audio content platform, has announced the successful one-month completion of its #VoiceofBlnds Campaign – an exclusive COVID-19 helpline portal/platform to address the needs of India’s blind and visually impaired population during this pandemic. Starting from April 8, 2020, the platform has received over 30K queries till date and is currently receiving 2000-2200 queries every day.

The majority of queries (60 per cent) came from Maharashtra, the worst-affected State in the country with over 15,000 cases. Around 80 per cent of the total queries were for grocery and food, whereas 19 per cent of the queries were for getting financial help.

Through this initiative, Khabri has lent a helping hand to the blind masses while raising awareness about coronavirus. Providing expert assistance around medical, psychological, social and financial aspects, the Company has also welcomed government bodies and Corporate houses to be a part of the VoiceofBlnd campaign by contributing their bit either in the form of donations or any other help they can render.

Sharing his insights, Sandeep Singh, President and Co-founder, Khabri, commented, “Although the coronavirus crisis has upended the lives of many, it has far-reaching effects on the blind. The social distancing measures have posed a new set of challenges for blind people who mostly rely on physical touches and other senses to stay connected. A large percentage of India’s blind population has also been financially impacted, struggling to make ends meet. Against this backdrop, our helpline portal has received an overwhelming response from the community of visually impaired and blind. Some of the calls were highly emotional and depressing at the same time and the helplessness of the people in distress was very tragic. Some of them were in desperate need for life-saving drugs, others had family disturbances where counselling was needed and yes financial and ration help were top priorities. We feel fortunate that we were able to solve most of the queries remotely while in some cases actual doctors were required, regarding which we could not do much”.

Khabri has also launched a dedicated content channel, live counselling session and a celebrity-led talk show to further its commitment towards empowering the blind community across India.

Bal Bharti Academy

NGO Bal Bharti Academy (BBA) has brought out a ‘Make in India’ non-contact infra-red thermometer to detect the body temperature in case of fever, one of the symptoms of coronavirus. These thermometers check the human temperature by sensing the infrared energy radiated by the body. This is a time when the importance of preventive healthcare will grow in the consumer mind space. The sudden surge in numbers of novel coronavirus cases has caused the nations across the globe to take steps to stop the spread. Ever since the outbreak of the deadly disease, there has been a need to routinely check body temperature, from a distance.

BBA has pledged to fight against COVID-19 and help the government and people of India by bringing in the best products and solutions that are 100 per cent made in India. The focus is not only on providing the best rates but also fully Indian products. This will lay the foundation of foreign companies to come to India and establish themselves in manufacturing,” says Maninder Singh, Secretary, Bal Bharti Academy.

Further, Ritika Singh, Jt. Secretary – Bal Bharti Academy said, “In this critical and difficult situation, people are ripping off each other in the supply of material and services that are essential during this time by charging huge amount of money. We at BBA have created this platform as a nodal agency to promote various good human companies to bring the best products/services at the lowest prices as we stand tall with the nation.”

“The Digital Infra-Red Thermometer and sanitisation are two major developments which will help to aid the mitigation of the coronavirus outbreak to start with. Further, there will be many more important technology-based solutions that are being introduced by us in the near future like Thermal Imaging Cameras, etc.,” says Arjun Prasad, Addl. Secretary, Bal Bharti Academy. 

LG Electronics

LG Electronics, India’s leading consumer durable brand has come forward to donating necessary products in hospitals set up for treatment of COVID-19 patients. To help people fight against the pandemic, the brand has donated over 110 products in All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi. Products include a range of air purifiers, air conditioners and water purifiers. During this tough situation, LG Electronics has been supporting the fight in all the possible ways.

Commenting on the occasion, Young Lak Kim – MD, LG Electronics India said, “We stand committed to lending our full support to the government and citizens in the fight against COVID-19. Maintaining a clean and healthy environment is critical right now. Thus, we are donating products which enhance health and hygiene like water purifier, air conditioners, air purifiers to AIIMS, Delhi. We wish to make a meaningful contribution in this difficult time to society. I am sure this will help in enhancing hospital infrastructure and will provide a comfortable environment for medical staff and patients.”

SOLV Partners with Akshaya Patra Foundation

SOLV’s partnership with Bangalore-based NGO Akshaya Patra Foundation will connect Akshaya Patra to a robust network of MSMEs on SOLV’s platform, engaged in supplying essential goods. The partnership will not only ensure the smooth delivery of supplies to the foundation’s kitchens but also help sustain several Kirana stores and small businesses engaged in the manufacturing and distribution of essential food supplies.

With the partnership, SOLV is helping Akshaya Patra during the current COVID-19 lockdown with sourcing materials for their COVID-19 Relief Feeding Programme which aims to support the needy with One Crore cooked meals and five lakh packaged grocery kits. Going forward, SOLV also aims to source and deliver raw materials for the foundation’s flagship mid-day meal scheme that provides fresh nutritious meals every school day to children in government schools and government-aided schools.

Commenting on the partnershipNitin Mittal, CEO and Founder, SOLV, said, “SOLV has continuously been working with our MSME and delivery partners to maintain an uninterrupted supply of essentials to NGOs, Kiranas, small hospitals and others during the lockdown crisis. We are very pleased to partner with and support an NGO like Akshaya Patra Foundation to ensure they can continue with their programmes during this situation and after, without worrying about supply-chain interruptions or disruptions.”

“SOLV not only helped us keep our supply-chain operational when the COVID19 outbreak led to unavailability of essential supplies but also demonstrated reliability and on-time delivery with excellent sourcing support, crucial in times of crisis like these,” said Vishwas Ujire, Head – Food Procurement, Akshaya  Patra Foundation. “We look forward to continuing this successful association with SOLV as we to expand the reach of our flagship programmes across the country.”

Bharat Financial Inclusion Limited

Bharat Financial Inclusion Ltd. (BFIL), a 100 per cent subsidiary of IndusInd Bank, has contributed Rs One Crore Rupees to the PM-CARES Fund. The Fund was set up in March by the Government of India to help fight the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis. Shri G. Kishan Reddy, Minister of State for Home Affairs, Government of India received the cheque from BFIL representatives at the North Block office in New Delhi yesterday. He appreciated the company for coming forward and strengthening the fight against COVID-19.

In addition to this contribution, BFIL has been tirelessly working to help State Governments in Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka to get access to essential medical equipment like testing kits, PPEs, and other sanitation requirements and also train frontline health workers to protect themselves against the virus.

MR Rao, MD & CEO, BFIL said, “We are witnessing an unprecedented crisis and the entire BFIL family stands in solidarity with the nation. With this contribution to PM-CARES Fund and many other initiatives at the grassroots level, we are providing all possible relief to needy people in villages and small towns across India.”

The PM-CARES Fund will be used to fight the health emergency brought about by COVID-19, ramp up research and strengthen healthcare and pharma facilities in India.

Oriflame

Oriflame, a leading direct-selling Swedish beauty brand, has always been at the forefront of extending support to those in need. In its latest efforts towards helping the community, the brand has donated 5000 masks to the Delhi Police along with 5000 masks and soaps each to the Delhi government. The products were delivered personally to the recipients by Vivek Katoch, Director of Corporate Affairs at Oriflame.

The brand has also gone out of its way to contribute to the PM-CARES Fund. Each employee of the organisation has extended one day’s salary as a donation towards the fund. The actions are aimed to equip governments with requisite tools to strengthen the preventive infrastructure while dealing with the crisis.

Not restricted to monetary assistance, the Company is also actively involved in disseminating precautionary messaging through its various social media accounts. Regular updates, posts, and stories can be seen on the brand’s Facebook and Instagram pages. The brand is reaching out to people with engaging content on physical and mental well-being which incorporates diet, work from home routines and other positive lifestyle-related information to help win the battle against contagion effectively.

Utmost precaution and social distancing norms are being observed by Oriflame across all its distribution centres. Regular and thorough disinfection procedures are being carried out at all centres along with unfailing use of sanitisers throughout the supply chain to ensure safety at all ends.

Speaking on the development, Frederic Widell, VP and Head of South Asia & MD, Oriflame India, “Stringent precautions are being taken by Oriflame to ensure the safety of all our consultants, customers, and those working closely with our brand. We are taking all steps necessary to eliminate the risk of contagion throughout our services. In view of the crisis, we have made contributions to central and state governments to support their relentless endeavours in fighting coronavirus. No virus is bigger than the human spirit. Instead of drifting us apart, it has brought us closer, emotionally. Today, we are all on the same page, working in sync to fight the pandemic.”

Commenting on the same, Vivek Katoch, Corporate Affairs Director, South Asia, Oriflame said, “It was an honour to deliver masks and soaps to those who are at the frontlines of this pandemic, fighting to flatten the curve and end this challenging period. At Oriflame, we salute these warriors and will continue to do our bit in containing the spread and restoring normalcy as soon as possible.”

JK TYRE

Continuing its bid to support the country’s fight against COVID-19, India’s leading tyre manufacturer JK Tyre & Industries Ltd has implemented a series of public relief measures to ensure safety and health of citizens across plant locations in Mysore, Banmore, Kankroli, Chennai and Haridwar.

In its ongoing commitment to extend support for an immediate on-ground response, the Company is reaching out to over 10,000 daily wage earners and migrants with food supplies in every region.

JK Tyre has also organised medical health camps across 25 villages and conducted surveys in residential localities situated in the vicinity of its manufacturing facilities across India. The Company realises the need for creating mass awareness at the community level and has been organising drives to educate the commercial drivers, suppliers and other vendors about the precautionary measures against the spread of COVID-19. To ensure the safety of citizens in public places, masks and sanitisers are being distributed across all key locations.

The Company has also set up a Corona Task Force that undertakes measures for supporting the needs, health and well-being of colleagues, partners, and their families. Initiatives like virtual training sessions and interactive webinars with medical experts are being organised to help them cope with the impact of COVID-19.

Dr Raghupati Singhania, Chairman & Managing Director, JK Tyre & Industries, said, “We all are faced with an unprecedented challenge and the world has become as one community in its efforts towards arresting the spread of COVID-19. While we are ensuring the safety of our family and employees, there is a large section of society that remains deprived of basic facilities. We are humbled to play our part in the relief efforts aimed towards the marginalised communities.”

Additionally, the conglomerate, JK Organisation has made a contribution towards the Prime Minister’s Fund and is dedicatedly working towards addressing the immediate needs of communities and migrant labour, at several locations across the country.

Hygiene & Sanitation Efforts: More than 20,000 hand sanitisers and masks were distributed covering even the residential colonies across all the locations.

Community-led Initiatives: Communities in 150+ villages around the plant locations, across several states have been educated about precautions against COVID-19, by Public address systems, door-to-door visits, banners and posters at prominent locations. Fumigation has been done in nearby villages covering more than 25,000 people.

Access to Medical Aid: 50+ Medical camps were set up in several villages to conduct first-level screening for COVID-19 symptoms among citizens and awareness drives were conducted for 5,000 truck drivers, suppliers/ vendors. Additionally, district health departments have been provided with an ambulance, safety materials, masks, soaps and hand gloves. Isolation wards have been created near the plants and infrastructure support is being provided at primary health centres.

Support to Migrant Workers: Distribution of food, medicines, sanitizers, drinking water and dry ration to 20000+ people at several locations across the country.

Food Supplies: Extending support to government officials, Police department and government hospital employees with packed food and drinking water with the help of NGO’s.

Care for Employees, Dealers and Channel Partners: Awareness sessions are being organised by doctors from Pushpawati Singhania Hospital & Research Institute (PSRI Hospital), to educate them regarding their safety as well as of their families. Additionally, skill-building webinars and online courses are being organised for the employees.

Association of 41 Clubs of India

The Association of 41 Clubs of India is distributing PPEs, masks, gloves and other safety materials worth over INR Six Crores to aid the frontline workers fighting the spread of COVID-19 pandemic. The NGO has also provided over eight lakh cooked meals and 60,000 weekly provision packets reaching out to over one million people. The volunteers from the organisation are also providing cooked meals and groceries at the doorstep for senior citizens.

In the next phase, the Association of 41 Clubs of India, is looking at providing on an extensive basis, safety materials like masks, gloves and PPE kits (hi-risk and low risk) to the medical fraternity of doctors, nurses and ward boys, the police and sanitation workers so that they can be safe while continuing the fight against the coronavirus. An additional INR 5.0 Crore is being raised which will be used to provide PPE and other safety materials to ensure safety for all those who are at risk of exposure to the pandemic.

Speaking on this occasion, Babji, President Association of 41 Clubs of India said, “In these challenging times, members of 41 Clubs have come together to provide immediate assistance to the affected across the country. Members are in the field helping those in need. We, the 41 Clubs of India, have a track record of doing extensive community service of over three decades. Many Indian and multinational companies have come forward to support us financially in this endeavour.”

Finolex Industries and Mukul Madhav Foundation

Spurred on by the unfolding events in China at the end of 2019, FIL and MMF took the initiative to formulate a pre-preparedness strategy much before WHO announced it as a global pandemic. The strategy was developed in close consultation with local hospitals, doctors that have been associated with the Foundation, para-medical partners and others with relevant experience.

Recognising the likelihood of an increase in the need for face masks, the Foundation approached various organisations who could contribute towards this requirement.  The Family Planning Association of India who provides a livelihood to HIV+ women in Pune; local women’s Self Help Groups in Satara were approached to make masks. This effort was mirrored in Masar, Gujarat and Ratnagiri at the Skill Development Centre run by the Foundation. This has created an opportunity for these women and has enabled them to earn additional money to contribute to their family incomes. Punyadham Ashram which houses senior citizens on the outskirts of Pune voluntarily began making masks and supporting the needs of the police force, Sassoon Hospital and Mukul Madhav Foundation.

Another prong in the strategy was to survey the known network of hospitals assigned to admit COVID patients to ascertain their immediate needs. An appeal was received and responded to from The Red Cross Society, KEM Hospital, Sassoon General Hospital, Naidu Hospital and a number of private hospitals. The Foundation has been proactive to provide ventilators, gloves, PPE suits, masks, sanitisers, disinfectants and face shields to these hospitals.

Through a collaboration with a start-up based at the Science and Technology Park, 4 Scitech Airon generators which purify the air were generously donated to Naidu Hospital and shortly 25 more will be donated to Sassoon Hospital, KEM Hospital and police stations.

FIL/MMF in collaboration with KETTO – online crowd-funding portal supported 4000+ families who lost their jobs being daily wage earners. MMF partnered with around seven like-minded institutes/volunteers to carry out the assembling, distribution of goods and support the end beneficiaries.

Rural areas of the state have not been sidelined. The District Health Officer (DHO), CEO and the Civil Surgeon have all been very supportive. RBSK (Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram) has bridged the gap between authorities and NGOs to support the transportation of goods to rural areas as entry by private vehicles has been banned.

In this time of isolation, FIL/MMF continues to support its ‘Mission Cerebral Palsy’ which began in 2015 at Finolex Rehab Centers pan Maharashtra. Patients are being guided through the generous support of the therapists planned by the dynamic team of MMF through Skype and WhatsApp video calls. Each parent is getting individual time over the phone. We hope to continue this through the period of lockdown.

Speaking on the activity, Ritu Prakash Chhabria, Managing Trustee, Mukul Madhav Foundation said, “During this time of lockdown, whole-hearted support from the Foundation to its beneficiaries and vice versa is being provided. Be it old age people, women afflicted with HIV, mobile teachers, authorities, parents or systems, all of them have been an integral part of carrying out these activities and initiatives. Volunteers like Raj Deshmukh, Vinod Rohani, Chetan Lodha and many others have been silently supporting in this mission.” 

Tamil Nadu Government and HCL

The Government of Tamil Nadu has partnered with HCL to set up a state-of-the-art Disaster Management – Data Analytics Centre to strengthen the State’s disaster management efforts in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. HCL is also helping improve and expand the State’s Disaster Management Helpline (1070) through technological upgradation, manpower assistance and effective reporting mechanisms.

The Disaster Management Center of the Government of Tamil Nadu (in Ezhilagam Building, Chepauk, Chennai) is responsible for the overall management of disasters across the entire State. The Disaster Management – Data Analytics Center, housed here and supported by HCL will help capture data trends from across all districts of Tamil Nadu in real-time and display them live to inform the government’s future decisions on the degree of response needed for each district and also for graded relaxation of the current lockdown to resume economic activities.

The Center operates a call centre (Helpline 1070) which is accessible to people across the State and delivers the first level of response in an emergency. Given the increased call volumes in the wake of COVID-19, HCL is helping to:

  • Upgrade their existing call centre by implementing an Automatic Call Distribution (ACD) system to effectively route calls between different government departments and also put in place an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system to help direct the queries to the appropriate State helplines
  • Build a state-of-art case flow system to track caller identity, immediate needs and follow through with relevant departments to solve their issues within a defined turnaround time
  • Extend interim support through manpower assistance to respond to calls and provide first-level response for administrative issues including – queries on food shortage and availability, support to the migrant population, differently-abled and elderly, respond to queries related to health and issues related to transport movement, among others
  • Institute proper reporting mechanism to capture data trends from citizens’ queries and reports provided by the government. This data is fed that into the Emergency Operations Center to guide the future course of action 

Dr J. Radhakrishnan I.A.S, Principal Secretary/Commissioner of Revenue Administration and State Relief Commissioner said, “We are happy to receive immediate support from HCL to strengthen our state-wide response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our improved disaster management helpline will enable us to respond to citizens’ queries in a timely and effective manner and also capture insights from the same to define the future course of action. We are thankful to HCL, who have helped to set up a state-of-the-art Disaster Management – Data Analytics Center in record time with facilities for real-time, live updates related to the pandemic.”

Bajaj Finserv

Strengthening the fight against COVID-19, employees of Bajaj Finserv and its subsidiaries have voluntarily decided to contribute a part of their salary to the PM-CARES Fund. The collective effort of around 32,000 employees resulted in an amount of  Rs 5,07,66,716/- being contributed by employees of  Bajaj Holdings & Investments and Bajaj Finserv, along with its subsidiaries – Bajaj Finance, Bajaj Housing Finance, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance, Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance, Bajaj Finserv Direct and Bajaj Finserv Health.

The Bajaj Finserv companies have decided to match this contribution, thereby doubling the amount to Rs 10,15,33,432/- which will be donated to the PM-CARES Fund.

The Bajaj Group had earlier pledged Rs 100 Crore in the fight against COVID-19, of which close to Rs 40 Crore is already operational through various projects in multiple geographies. The group along with its partners is providing cooked meals daily to more than 40,000 homeless and underprivileged people in Pune and its immediate surrounding areas. The Group has also provided more than 12,000 PPE to the government hospitals in Uttarakhand, Pune and its other operational areas, and is working towards procuring more. In addition to safety equipment, the Group is actively working towards upgrading rural healthcare facilities, providing ventilators to multiple hospitals and raising awareness in rural pockets to fight COVID-19.

Commenting on the initiative, Sanjiv Bajaj, Chairman and Managing Director, Bajaj Finserv said, “It is a matter of great pride for us that our employees have voluntarily come forward to donate a part of their salary to the PM-CARES Fund. We remain committed in the fight against COVID-19 and are supporting the government and communities in tackling this pandemic.”

DP World and Akshaya Patra

Reaffirming its commitment to the society and the country, global logistics company DP World has partnered with Akshaya Patra Foundation to support the underprivileged section of the society impacted by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

DP World in partnership with Akshaya Patra is providing free cooked meals to daily wage labourers, homeless people and low-income group families across India. The nationwide lockdown necessary for containing the spread of COVID-19 has adversely affected the underprivileged section of the society. The company is committed to supporting the local communities during these challenging times. DP World is also providing dry rations to those who depend on daily wages or have lost their livelihoods during this time. Food supplies are being provided to the local communities around DP World’s port terminals in Cochin (Kerala), Nhava Sheva (Maharashtra), Mundra (Gujarat) and Chennai (Tamil Nadu).

Rizwan Soomar, CEO and MD, DP World Subcontinent said “In these unprecedented times, numerous people from economically weaker section of the society do not have access to food and other necessities. Through our partner Akshaya Patra we are offering free cooked meals to thousands of families across the country. We are also distributing dry ration kits to the workers who are living in and around our facilities. It is our commitment to provide support to the communities around us. We have already initiated several programs in association with our NGO partners. We are committed to helping the country in the fight against Coronavirus. As a leading logistics company, we are ensuring the continuous flow of essential goods across the country. All port terminals and inland freight terminals of DP World at Cochin, Nhava Sheva, Mundra, Chennai, Ahmedabad, NCR and Hyderabad are operating 24×7. These are supported by our Rail operations, CFSs, Warehouses, Express, 3PL and Cold Chain businesses, and have collectively ensured that the lockdown has minimal impact on trade and economy.”

Sundeep Talwar from The Akshaya Patra Foundation said, “Through our network of kitchens we are providing cooked meals across various states. We aim to provide 1 Crore cooked meals and 5 lakhs packed grocery kits to families impacted by the outbreak of Coronavirus pandemic in India. Corporate partners like DP World are helping us achieve that goal. We thank DP World for their support and look forward to collaborating closely during these challenging times to ensure food relief reaches to the people in need.”

DP World has undertaken various sustainability initiatives targeted towards education, healthcare and disaster relief. DP World has contributed heavily to increase the accessibility of healthcare in remote locations through ‘Sehat Ki Sawari’, a mobile medical unit across 30 villages. Additionally, the organization is deeply invested in disaster relief efforts in Kerala through the ‘Rebuild Kerala’ project that is addressing the rehabilitation of flood-affected community members.

Akshaya Patra is a Bengaluru-based non-profit organisation that operates in partnership with the Central Government and various State Governments to offer cooked meals to school children. They provide 18 lakh meals every day to government school children across the country through the mid-day meal programme. The Akshaya Patra Foundation has begun its COVID-19 relief services by providing healthy, cooked meals and dry ration kits to thousands of people.

Standard Chartered

Standard Chartered PLC – The Group – has announced further details on how the Group will provide both short-term relief, and longer-term assistance, for communities across its 59 markets via the recently launched US$50m COVID-19 global charitable fund.

The Fund will operate in two distinct components.

Phase 1 – Immediate Relief for Communities by July 2020

The Group will provide US$25m of funding for immediate relief from the impact of COVID-19, with all funding commitments made by July 2020.

To ensure funds are allocated on the ground where they can provide rapid and targeted impact, the Group has pledged US$5m of funding to the Red Cross* for urgent medical support, including the provision of primary and secondary health care, communication of protection measures, provision of personal protection equipment (PPE) for Red Cross staff, and the distribution of food, care and education packages for those impacted by Covid-19.

Pledged US$5m of funding to UNICEF for the immediate educational support of vulnerable children across 12 markets in Africa and South Asia. Funding will focus on the provision of remote education via TV, radio, online and mobile platforms and child protection measures, including alternative care arrangements and family tracing services for children separated from their families due to COVID-19, training for social workers to conduct home visits to vulnerable children for mental health support, and alternative care and protection services for children of parents or caregivers affected by COVID-19.

Provided US$15m of funding to the Group’s four regions (ASEAN and South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, Europe and Americas, and Greater China and North Asia) to disburse to local NGO partners. To date, US$4.2m of funding has already been committed across 17 markets.

Phase 2 – Supporting Economic Recovery and Protecting Livelihoods

The Group will provide US$25m of funding to protect employment and educational opportunities, aiding the long-term recovery of communities impacted by COVID-19. Funding will begin in August 2020 with a target to deliver projects by the end of 2021. Part of the US$25m will be donated directly by Standard Chartered’s employees via a month-long giving campaign commencing on 27 April.

Longer-term funding will focus on two areas:

Training young people to regain employment, including identifying and training new health workers, and re-training young people who have lost their jobs for new opportunities. Funds will be disbursed in partnership with local NGOs specialising in these areas.

Funding for micro and small businesses, including seed funding, training, or the adaptation of existing businesses to focus on new products or services. This funding is charitable and does not include commercial lending.

Bill Winters, Group Chief Executive, Standard Chartered PLC, said: “Working with UNICEF and the Red Cross, as well as local NGO partners, will be critical in allowing us to provide rapid and effective medical and educational help to some of the most vulnerable people in our societies. But we can’t lose sight of the longer-term economic and health impact of Covid-19, and that is why our focus is also on supporting economic recovery and the protection of livelihoods. I am incredibly proud that my colleagues throughout the bank have indicated so strongly their intention to make personal donations as part of our funding commitments.”

Henrietta Fore, Executive Director, UNICEF, said: “Under COVID-19, nearly 190 countries have imposed school closures, affecting 1.5 billion children and young people. As the crisis continues to escalate, children confined at home are not only missing out on their education but on school meals and essential health and social protection services. With so much at stake, UNICEF is grateful to Standard Chartered for their generous US$5 million contribution to our COVID-19 response to ensure that children and young people receive the support they need at this extraordinary time.”

Mike Adamson, CEO at the British Red Cross, said: “The world is facing an unprecedented global emergency in coronavirus, and we are extremely grateful for the kindness Standard Chartered has shown through this generous donation. For over 150 years, the Red Cross has been helping people in crisis whomever they are and wherever they live. This virus does not respect borders and has already significantly impacted populations around the world. We know that our global response will only be as strong as the ability of the weakest public health system to respond, and this donation will help us deliver our vital work to the poorest and most vulnerable people.”

In addition to the above steps, the Group has also put in place a comprehensive support programme for our clients and colleagues, including:

US$1 billion of financing for companies that provide goods and services to help the fight against Covid-19, and those planning the switch into making products that are in high demand to fight the global pandemic.

A comprehensive support scheme for retail and business customers, including loan repayment holidays, fee waivers or cancellations and loan extension facilities.

No colleagues have been asked to leave the Bank due to the impact of COVID-19, nor do we intend to make any layoffs as a result of the pandemic. We have not furloughed any of our 84,000 colleagues across 59 markets, all of whom are working hard to support our clients and customers.