Corporate America steps up efforts for Covid relief in India: US forum chief

India is currently struggling with a second wave of the pandemic with more than 3 lakh daily new coronavirus cases being reported in the past few days

Corporate America steps up efforts for Covid relief in India: US forum chief

Photo for representation only. Tribune file

Washington, April 28

America’s corporate sector has stepped up its efforts to help India in its battle against the Covid pandemic and ensure that lives are saved, the head of an India-centric American business advocacy group has said.

India is currently struggling with a second wave of the pandemic with more than 3 lakh daily new coronavirus cases being reported in the past few days, and hospitals are reeling under a shortage of medical oxygen and beds.

“The other whole objective is, what we need to do to save and sustain life,” Mukesh Aghi, the president of the US India Strategic and Partnership Forum, said.

“All I can say is all hands are on deck. US corporations have stepped up and you will see the speed and things coming to India very fast,” Aghi told PTI in an interview.

Representing several hundred American companies having a footprint in India, Aghi who has been coordinating with both the US and Indian governments said that these organisations are concerned about the situation as most of them have large employee bases in India.

Over the past few days, CEOs of various companies have been holding daily virtual meetings to discuss and coordinate their relief efforts in India.

Many of these announcements have come out in the public domain, for instance, MasterCard contributing USD 10 million, and Google announcing USD 18 million in new funding for India.

Google is helping India with tracking Covid in India.

Aviation giant Lockheed Martin is sending helicopters and cargo flights to move equipment to small towns in India.

And many firms have offered their empty offices in India to be used as vaccine centres.

UPS and United and Delta have already volunteered flights to take equipment to India. Amazon is coordinating ventilators distribution.

FedEx on Tuesday flew 1,000 oxygen concentrators to India.

Air Products announced plans to allocate resources and assets from its operations around the world to support and maximise the supply and distribution of oxygen within India during this period of crisis.

“From IBM to Amazon to Chase all, I would say, most of them, have stepped up. The CEOs have stepped up and made tremendous contributions to ensure that lives are saved,” he said in response to a question.

“What we have agreed, is basically look at multiple areas to support India. First is bringing in oxygen concentrators. As of now, we have almost 1,000 oxygen concentrator devices landing in India between today and tomorrow. We are targeting to bring at least 25,000s of them and have been resourcing around the world to be shipped to India,” Aghi said. PTI

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