India Inc loosens purse-strings for ‘war against virus’
MUMBAI: Close on the heels of Sir H.N. Reliance Foundation Hospital’s 100-bed centre for Covid-19 patients, other corporate groups and industry organisations have joined hands to help the Maharashtra government tackle the coronavirus pandemic.
The Pune-based, 130-year old Bajaj Group has pledged Rs 100 crore to upgrade key healthcare centres and provide the necessary infrastructure to tackle COVID-19, said Group Chairman Rahul Bajaj.
This would include government and private-sector hospitals for upgrading their intensive care units, get additional equipment like ventilators and personal protection gear, enhance testing, and set up quarantine wards in Pune district including the second-worst hit Pune city and Pimpri-Chinchwad.
The Bajaj Group will also work with organisations in different areas and sections of badly hit people like daily wage earners, homeless and street children with food and shelter, sanitation and healthcare initiatives, Bajaj added.
In view of the ‘reverse migration’ to villages, the Group will support an economic aid programme with a direct survival grant and a livelihood intervention using a revolving fund model.
Nationalist Congress President Sharad Pawar lauded the initiatives. “Grateful to my friend Rahul Bajaj as always, taking the values and legacy of the very generous Bajaj family tradition for the nation,” he said, in a message.
In Mumbai, the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) pledged Rs 50 crore for the welfare of the industry’s daily wage earners who are badly affected by the state and national lockdowns, besides funding government initiatives to tackle Covid-19.
GJEPC Chairman Pramod Agrawal said that there is a workforce of over five million in the industry which contributes 7 percent to the national GDP but is in dire straits, and all the members have been asked to adopt a humane approach by looking after their employees during the unprecedented lockdown period.
GJEPC Vice Chairman Colin Shah added that the money will be utilised for funding specific government initiatives related to public health or medical facilities, and appealed to other industries and trade bodies to donate generously to the ‘war against virus’.
Maharashtra currently has the highest number of Covid-19 positive cases totalling 125 and at least four fatalities.