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How Tech Companies are Helping Covid-Ravaged India

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Right now India is going through our most difficult moment in the pandemic thus far. The daily Covid-19 cases continue to set record highs, with hospitals filled to capacity and in need of urgent supplies to cope with the increasing number of patients. As the country continues to battle a deadly second wave of Coronavirus, technology majors such as Google, Microsoft and Amazon and a slew of other tech companies have pledged support through various initiatives to meet the ongoing oxygen and medical equipment shortage and requirements in the country.

GoogleSatya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft in a tweet said: “I am heartbroken by the current situation in India. I’m grateful the US government is mobilizing to help.

Microsoft will continue to use its voice, resources, and technology to aid relief efforts, and support the purchase of critical oxygen concentration devices.”

Meanwhile, Sundar Pichai, CEO, Alphabet, tweets: “Devastated to see the worsening Covid crisis in India. Google announced Rs 135 crore ($18 million) to help get urgent medical supplies, including oxygen and testing equipment, for India.”

Google India’s Country Head and Vice President, Sanjay Gupta, writes in a blog post that the company is announcing Rs 135 crore ($18 million) in funding for India, including two grants from Google.org, Google’s philanthropic arm, adding up to Rs 20 crore ($2.6 million).

The first is to GiveIndia to provide cash assistance to families hit hardest by the crisis to help with their everyday expenses. The second will go to UNICEF to help get urgent medical supplies, including oxygen and testing equipment, to where it’s needed most in India, Gupta mentions in the blog

“Our Google community and their families are feeling the devastating impact, too. We’re asking ourselves what more we can do as a company to ensure people get the information and support they need to keep their families and communities healthy and safe,” adds Gupta.

The funding also includes increased ad grants for public health information campaigns. “Since last year, we’ve helped MyGov and the World Health Organization reach audiences with messages focused on how to stay safe and facts about vaccines. We’re increasing our support today with an additional 112 Crore rupee ($15 million) in Ad Grants to local health authorities and nonprofits for more language coverage options,” he adds.

Recently, e-commerce major Amazon is donating and airlifting 8,000 oxygen concentrators and 500 BiPAP machines from Singapore to help India in its COVID-19 battle. The company will also manage the movement of medical equipment from the local airport to hospitals and institutions.

“Covid-19 has severely impacted India in unimaginable ways. We stand firmly with the country, deploying our global logistics network to urgently airlift the needed oxygen concentrators to support the nation’s immediate need. We continue to explore other meaningful ways to help in saving lives and are committed to support the nation in this time of crisis.” Amit Agarwal, global SVP and country head, Amazon India mentions in a post.

In the US, Amazon, Google, and Microsoft have joined the COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium. The COVID-19 HPC Consortium brings together government, industry, and academic leaders for extensive research in bioinformatics, epidemiology, and molecular modeling. The consortium aims to understand the COVID-19 threat and develop defensive strategies.

Marc Benioff, founder of Salesforce said that the company is loading a Boeing 787 loaded with medical supplies and will land it in India next week.

“All of our hearts and prayers are with our brothers and sisters in India. May they all be protected, healed, & blessed,” the founder said in a tweet.

The company has already announced that it would be donating USD 1 million towards local partners focused on medical equipment sourcing, community isolation centres and creating vaccine awareness in India. The donated money will be used towards local partners focused on medical equipment sourcing, community isolation centres and creating vaccine awareness in the country.

Meanwhile, Xiaomi India has pledged to donate Rs 3 crore towards procuring 1,000+ oxygen concentrators. They will be given to hospitals and state governments with the highest requirement. The brand is also joining hands with GiveIndia to rais

e Rs 1 crore to support frontline COVID-19 workers across the country. Xiaomi has also slashed its budget for giveaways and promotions to help raise money.

Other companies have also joined the bandwagon to help India recover from the deadly pandemic. Zomato’s non-profit arm Feeding India has tied up with logistics firm Delhivery to source oxygen concentrators and related supplies to help hospitals and families in need. Delhivery said it will be flying charter flights at subsidised prices to help importers get access to oxygen concentrators. The company will also provide local movement of oxygen supplies.

ACT Grants set up a payment link enabled by RazorPay, for corporates and institutional donors as part of its plan to raise Rs 75 crore ($10 million), according to a tweet by Tejeshwi Sharma, Principal at Sequoia Capital.

“We have already raised Rs 50 crore to commit to Oxygen solutions, vaccinations and home healthcare. Let’s make it count!” the tweet reads.

Healthcare platform PharmEasy also reportedly aims to vaccinate over 3 crore people within the next few quarters. The company will leverage its presence across 80,000 retailers and 5,000 distributor network across the country to accelerate the vaccination drive.

The list is longer as tech companies are stepping up to help during the COVID-19 crisis want the economy to go back to normal as soon as possible. They also want people to be safe and are working hard so that other businesses can open back up and return to business as usual, a tech executive mentions.

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