Latest innovations, jugaad, and initiatives taken by India's tech ecosystem & leaders to help India flatten the curve and navigate through the Covid-19 impact.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s PM-CARES fund is a topic of debate for several critics but has garnered the attention of the public as well as corporates. From individuals donating small amounts to corporates committing crores, the fund has been at the centre of attention for those looking to support the country in fighting the pandemic.
The fund will be used to combat, contain and relief efforts against the coronavirus outbreak and similar pandemic like situations in the future. While startups have been offering their technology solutions to the government, they have also come up with direct and indirect contributions to the PM-CARES fund.
Several entrepreneurs, in their personal capacity and on behalf of their companies, have come forward to donate their salaries or a certain amount of money towards the fund. At the same time, several companies have innovated to drive public donations by running crowdfunding campaigns offering cashbacks as well.
OYO Pitches In With Hotel Rooms And Funds
One of the first companies to reach out to the government to help, OYO had offered to convert its hotels as quarantine and self-isolation centres across the country. The initiative gained ground over the last month, with several crowdfunding initiatives to support stays for people in need for quarantine to free stays for healthcare workers. The company on its part also donated INR 2.5 Cr with contributions from leadership team as well towards PM-CARES fund.
Overall, it has made global investments worth of approximately $3.5Mn in the fight against COVID-19 and pledges to continue doing all it can to support those in need.
Ola Backs Fundraising And Tech Efforts
Cab-hailing services company Ola has also been at the forefront of the fight against Covid-19. The company has offered its cabs to the government to support relief measures, while it has also offered its cabs for emergency travel for the public to hospitals. Ola is also offering its technology platforms and capabilities to government and public service organisations to tackle Covid-19. The company has launched the Ola CONNECTS (Comprehensive Navigation, Networking, Control and Tracking Solution) initiative to support the efforts on the ground.
In terms of donations, the company contributed INR 5 Cr to the PM CARES Fund and has also made smaller donations in states’ relief funds.
Zoho Looks To Help Out SMBs
Indian SaaS company Zoho has taken up the onus to offer 360-degree coverage for its Covid-19 relief efforts. From starting to offer free work from home tools to businesses to enabling free food for the needy, to helping businesses get online by creating websites to donations, the company is doing its part across services.
The company has donated INR 25 Cr to the PM Cares fund. Zoho Corp has restarted its kitchens, which were used to serve the employees, to distribute 1K meals a day in southern Chennai. Vembu also added that the company will be extending it to 5000 meals a day in Chennai, Tenkasi and Renigunta.
While these companies have taken the route of direct donations, there are companies which are helping the public donate to PM-CARES fund and receive benefits through their platforms
Paytm Pledges Over INR 500 Cr
Vijay Shekhar Sharma-led Paytm has been on the forefront in fighting coronavirus pandemic. The company has partnered with more than 300 hotels in 60 cities to offer temporary accommodation for the medical practitioner on the frontline.
At the same time, it has also decided to invest INR 5 Cr to financially support innovator and companies that are working on solutions for the potential shortage of clinical ventilators and other medical equipment.
The company has also pledged to donate over INR 500 Cr in the PM CARES Fund. The company will also donate INR 10 for every donation made through its platform. The company crossed INR 100 Cr donation earlier this month.
Other Major Donors
Besides these mega donations, other startups and tech companies have also pledged funds and taken steps to back the PM-CARES fund as well as other relief efforts.
Digital payments platform PhonePe launched a #100CrorePledge, urging 10 Crore citizens to donate to the PM-CARES Fund. PhonePe has pledged to contribute INR 10 for every donation. The company also launched a Corona Care insurance policy for those who have tested positive for Covid-19 and hospitalised. The company has tied up with its insurance partner Bajaj Allianz General Insurance.
Amazon has urged its users to donate to PM CARES Fund or its partner NGOs through its digital payments platform, Amazon Pay. Amazon has decided to make an additional donation of 10%. In total, the company is hoping to raise INR 100 Cr through its platform.
Further, Amazon has extended the $25 Mn ‘Amazon Relief Fund’ to associates part of the Delivery Service Partner Program, Amazon Flex program and it’s trucking partners providing middle mile logistics support in the event of financial hardships. This fund can be utilized by qualifying individuals who have been quarantined or diagnosed with COVID-19.
Google said it has taken a number of steps in India to help bring authoritative and reliable information to people, and provide features across its products that can be helpful during these trying times. The company is working towards curbing misinformation and also launched the COVID-19 India website that collates updated information, as well as live statistics, into a single, easy-to-access resource.
The company had also enabled donations to PM-CARES fund and has collected over INR 105 Cr. Globally, Google has committed over $800 Mn to address some of the challenges faced by usinesses in these times.
Fitness platform Curefit had launched the #MovementForMovement campaign for users to work out from home and complete the challenge for which the company will donate INR 100 towards the PM-CARES fund. It also launched Care fit, Curefit’s telemedicine vertical and is offering multiple specialities like gynaecology, orthopaedics, ENT, dermatology, dental and more.
Walmart India, Flipkart & Walmart Foundation have committed INR 46 Cr to support the country by contributing personal protective equipment for medical staff and other necessities for vulnerable communities. Walmart and Flipkart have already secured 300,000 N95 masks and 1 Mn medical gowns.
Further, Walmart Foundation is donating an INR 7.7 Cr to Goonj and Srijan to support the procurement of essential relief materials, such as food, medicine, and hygiene items, for distribution by the organizations to support farmers, rural communities, and the micro-businesses.