As India gasps for breath in the face of the second Covid wave, tech companies, including Google, Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, and Twitter, have come to the rescue of hundreds and thousands of Indians.
With the rise in Covid-19 cases and deaths in the country, the healthcare infrastructure has crumbled, resulting in a shortage of beds, oxygen, vaccine, medicines and ventilators.
The second wave of coronavirus pandemic has impacted the livelihood of people and businesses like never before.
As per the Ministry of Health and Welfare’s latest data, India has 29,78,709 active coronavirus cases. As of Wednesday night, close to 2,01,187 people have died in the country. The actual figures could be much higher, according to a report by The New York Times.
While the healthcare system stands on life support, fake news and rumours on social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp are spreading faster than the virus.
Understanding the gravity of the situation, many tech companies, both Indian and global, have extended their support to help Indians.
- Google announced plans to set up an $18 million relief fund to help India.
- CEO Sundar Pichai said the company would provide INR 135 crore to GiveIndia and UNICEF for medical supplies, organising high-risk communities, and grants to help spread crucial information.
- On the blog, the country head and VP of Google India, Sanjay Gupta, said that the fund includes two grants from Google.org (Google’s philanthropic arm), totalling $2.6 million (INR 20 crore).
- Accordingly, the first grant would be given to GiveIndia to provide cash assistance to families hit by the crisis. The second tranche would go to UNICEF to help procure urgent medical supplies, including oxygen concentrator and testing equipment.
- Google has also started an employee giving campaign. So far, it has raised close to $500,000 (INR 3.7 crore) from more than 900 Google employees.
- Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has pledged support by providing oxygen concentrators to India. In a Twitter post, he said his company would continue to use its voice, resources and technology to help relief efforts.
- Apple has announced its support to India. CEO Tim Cook said that Apple would be supporting relief efforts on the ground for its employees and those fighting against the pandemic.
- Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg announced the company is working with UNICEF to give $10 million to fuel the emergency response efforts.
- Recalling her early career days in India, Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook, in a separate post, said the company is looking to support those on the grounds working to stop the spread of the virus.
- Twitter recently announced it had added features such as Twitter Advanced Search, Twitter Near You and Latest Tweet to help Indians looking for Covid-19 related information.
- Amazon announced it would support the medical infrastructure and boost the capacity of Indian hospitals fighting against Covid-19. The company is working closely with Medtronic and the Ministry of Health to import 100 ventilators to India, said Amit Agarwal, country head at Amazon India.
- Further, in its blog post, the company said it is working towards donating blood plasma from recovered Covid-19 patients. It has formed an internal group of volunteers to coordinate response for those in critical need, alongside scaling its support team to help with essential supplies and more.
- Linkedin said it has partnered with GiveIndia to raise funds for critical medical supplies such as protective gears and equipment. Country Manager Ashutosh Gupta said the company is working towards making changes to the platform to deliver reliable news and information.
- Mastercard announced $10 million (INR 75 crore) to cover all vaccine-related costs for its India-based employees and immediate family members.
- Mastercard said it would provide 2,000 beds and help 2.5 million Indian gain access to healthcare.
- The company will allocate funds for additional shipments of 1,000 oxygen generators as part of its CSR effort. Also, it plans to match employee donations to its Employee Assistance Fund, up to $15,000 per employee.
- According to reports, Infosys has installed Covid-19 care centres for its employees as well as their families. The centres are located in Pune and Bengaluru and are managed by Ruby Hall Hospital and Manipal Hospitals. In the coming months, the company will look to set up similar facilities across its offices in the country.
- Infosys has also decided to help educate schoolchildren, expand bed capacity in hospitals, and assist the government in spreading awareness.
- Tech Mahindra recently announced the Covid-19 vaccination drive for its associates and dependent family members. The IT company has partnered with Fortis Healthcare, and the vaccination drive has already begun.
- The company said it would cover the cost of vaccination for its employees and associates.
- Accenture announced it would bear the cost of Covid-19 vaccination for all its 200,000 employees and their dependents in India. The programme has already started and is valid for those who have enrolled on its medical benefits plans.
- TCS announced that it would provide the Covid-19 vaccine to all its employees and family members, starting from May 1, 2021.
- Tata Sons and Tata Trusts have pledged INR 15,00 crores (close to $200 million) to protect and help the affected communities.
- Deloitte announced that it had joined forces with more than 40 CEOs of multi-national companies to help India fight the second wave. The team focuses on supplying oxygen concentrators, oxygen cylinders and generators, home monitoring kits, and medicines.
- Bosch recently announced that the German-based tech firm had turned its sports complex (at Adugodi campus) into a Covid care centre. The care centre has 70 beds and medical facilities, and qualified staff.
- Wipro announced it would start a Covid-19 vaccination program for its employees at the Bengaluru campus. The company has partnered with Connect and Heal (CNH), a health tech firm specialising in primary care and urgent response services.
- Wipro has started vaccinating its employees at its Electronic City campus last Thursday (April 24, 2021).
- IBM has asked its global employees to send donations through the United Way of India.
- Arvind Krishna, chairman and chief executive at IBM India, wrote to the employees to support the cause. So far, the big blue has donated funds for 2,500 oxygen concentrators and is working with local partners to fund emergency hospital beds in communities where its Indian team resides or works, he added.
- The tech giant has expanded Covid-19 coverage for its employees.
- The co-founder of Ethereum Vitalik Buterin, and cryptocurrency expert Balaji Srinivasan has agreed to pitch in. Buterin has donated close to $600,000, while Srinivasan has contributed close to $100,000 to the fund set up by Sandeep Nailwal, the founder of Polygon, an Ethereum scaling project.
- Ahead of its IPO listing, food tech giant Zomato also announced various initiatives to tackle the Covid-19 crisis in the country.
- Deepinder Goyal, the founder of Zomato, said it has partnered with logistics startup Delhivery to source oxygen concentrators and related supplies to help hospitals and communities in need.
- The company is also looking to raise INR 50 crores from domestic, international and startups for the Feeding India initiative.
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Amit Raja Naik is a senior writer at Analytics India Magazine, where he dives deep into the latest technology innovations. He is also a professional bass player.