India | June 2020: Months, after the coronavirus surfaced in Wuhan, China, the virus has spread across the globe. Every nation is grappling with this unprecedented and unthought-of pandemic. The COVID-19 contagion has left the people in disarray and posed one of the most significant challenges to the global economy. Soon after announcing the lockdown, the government released a $22 billion relief package and business, sports, and entertainment personalities, and NGOs have come forward to donate. The need to protect the frontline warriors like healthcare workers, police personnel, and those deprived of livelihood is most urgent. With only 9.27 lakhs doctors, 3.07 million nurses, and 14.2 lakh police personnel available in service of 1.3 billion people, ensuring their safety is imminent in the fight against coronavirus.
Businesses across verticals, while trying to save their stakes, are making every effort to fulfill their corporate social responsibility (CSR). In these trying times, some contributed to the PM-CARES Fund; and others used independent means to do their bit. The IT Czar-Azim Premji committed Rs. 1000 crore through the philanthropic arm of his business, the Azim Premji Foundation. India’s richest man Mukesh Ambani contributed Rs. 500 crores to the PM-CARES fund, Rs. 5 crores to Maharashtra government and the same amount to the relief fund of Gujarat CM, where the biggest Reliance refinery is located. Besides, Mr. Ambani also announced setting up a 100-bed COVID unit in Mumbai and offered free meals to the underprivileged. Even the TATA trust earmarked Rs. 500 crores towards tackling the pandemic.
To arm the frontline warriors and to take care of the basic needs of the underprivileged, the role of NGO’s and non-profit foundations has also been significant. The prominent Concern India Foundation is reaching out to the frontline workers in the healthcare realm, the police forces, and marginalised communities. Across the country with its NGO network, Concern India Foundation is supplying PPEs, sanitisers, washing soaps, ambulances, ventilators, and oximeters in hospitals. Its support to the police forces has also been fundamental in equipping the police personnel and police station with gloves, masks, and hand sanitisers.
As the head of the Concern India Foundation states, “With the increasing spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, the whole world is going through one of the most challenging times. The need to stand strong and show the best of humanity is pertinent to combat this battle. At Concern India Foundation, we are supporting healthcare workers, hospitals, and police forces across India. We are also ensuring that the marginalised get food and basic hygiene kits.” said- Kavita Shah CEO Concern India Foundation
Along with equipping frontline warriors, the Concern India Foundation is safeguarding the underprivileged with the basics during these challenging times. So far, they have provided 500 families with ration and hygiene kits and are constantly collating requirements to cater to the maximum number of people.
Galvanizing support from corporates and urging NGOs to come together, head of CIF. reiterates, “it is essential to put a strong and united foot forward. Companies should contribute more towards CSR initiatives, and NGO’s should come together to maximize the reach and resources. The drastic spread of COVID-19 has put the frontline workers at risk and impacted the lives and livelihood of many. So, all business communities, NGO’s and individuals must come together to make the public health system stronger than ever before and ensure no one sleeps hungry during these challenging times.”
Extraordinary times demand extraordinary measures, and so the Ministry of Corporate Affairs also announced that all donations made by corporates towards PM-CARES fund and COVID-19 would get looked up as part of the CSR expenditure. The promotion of healthcare, sanitation, disaster management, and preventive healthcare all qualifies for the treatment of CSR. The Ministry has also clarified that companies can go beyond the 2% amount with their CSR contributions and it can get added as part of their future year contributions. There will be no other time appropriate than now for corporates, NGOs, and citizens of India to converge, pool their resources, fight, and win this greatest battle of our times together.
About Concern India Foundation:
A non-profit and public charitable trust, Concern India Foundation got established in April 1991 and has been working to help the marginalised. Working on the principle, “help people help themselves,” Concern India is for holistic community development. They try to make people self-reliant. In a country with nearly 21.9% of people living below the poverty line, education and empowerment is the key to enable them to live a life of dignity. Supporting about 300 NGOs at the grassroot level, Concern India reaches around 1,36,000 marginalised people pan India.