Private donations pour in as India battles pandemic

From software giants in California to face shield makers from the UK, and the Indian diaspora to a Buddhist group — the Narendra Modi government has received aid to fight Covid19 from a wide range of private donors, government data shows. They have supplied medical oxygen infrastructure, life-saving drugs and even infrared thermal scanners over the past few weeks.

The data, reviewed y HT, shows that American companies such as Salesforce, Eli Lilly, Bloom Energy and Thermo Fisher Scientific, Swiss major Roche, UK-based Virustatic Shield Ltd and Canada’s PRACSNS are among the list of international donors.

Amazon, Virgin Atlantic, Indian communities in New Zealand, Oman and the UK, a Buddhist order known as Chinese Diligent Buddhists of Master Yunyi and Indian corporate majors such as Reliance Industries, Infosys, Bajaj group, ITC and Tata Group have also extended help in this crisis, according to the government records.

The international donors have so far provided more than 6,000 oxygen concentrators, one million rapid antigen kits, more than 50,000 vials of life-saving drugs such as tocilizumab and over 100,000 packs of baricitinib. New Delhi also received 400 ventilators, 200 oxygen cylinders, four oxygen plants, 2,370 oxygen masks, 2,870 nasal cannula and 10,480 pulse oximeters among other items, the data shows.

The government has waived off basic customs duty and health cess on import of medical oxygen, oxygen-related equipment and ventilators until July 31, 2021. Covid-19 vaccines, remdesivir and its API are exempted from basic customs duty while corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities now include funds spent on makeshift Covid-19 hospitals, temporary care facilities, awareness campaigns and public outreach programmes to promote vaccination.

All non-monetary donations from the private sector to the Centre are being coordinated and provided with end-to-end support by the government’s think tank Niti Aayog.

“Private sector, both Indian and International, has been at the forefront of fight against the second wave of covid pandemic. The private sector donors including industries, multinational companies, chambers of commerce and industries, voluntary agencies, and generous individual donors have all come together in this fight,” said Niti Ayog CEO Amitabh Kant.

Official data shows Salesforce has donated 2,200 oxygen concentrators and 10,000 pulse oximeters; Indian communities in the UK and Oman have given 708 oxygen concentrators, 2,370 nasal cannula and oxygen masks, 480 pulse oximeters and 30 oxygen concentrators, the data shows.

Documents accessed by HT show PerkinElmer sent antigen test kits, ThermoFischer Scientific donated viral transport mediums (VTMs) and disposable PPE components, while Virustatic Shield Ltd gave face shields and Indo Swiss Chambers of Commerce sent face masks.

USIBC, Amazon, Bloom Energy, SNJ Charitable Trusts, NongHyup Bank, Indo Thai Chamber of Commerce, Virgin Atlantic and PRACSNS are among those who contributed oxygen-related equipment, while the Buddhist organisation gave 76 oxygen concentrators.

About 100 private organisations have contributed so far and an official said that more Covid-related donations were on their way.

Indian corporate majors, too, have extended help. The Tata Group helped in setting up Sardar Patel COVID Care Centre and Hospital and imported 14 cryogenic containers for oxygen, among other things. The Bajaj Group installed four oxygen plants in rural hospitals, and are installing oxygen plants in some key government hospitals in western India among other activities.

“Reliance Industries is providing over 1,000 tonnes of liquid medical oxygen per day. They have organised airlifting of 24 ISO containers from Saudi Arabia, Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands and Thailand, and are adding 500 MT of transportation capacity for liquid oxygen,” an official document said.

“Infosys is helping Karnataka government to scale up the call centre operations, Raytheon Technologies has donated oxygen concentrators, Escorts is setting up a 1000 bed hospital in Faridabad, DCM Shriram is setting up 7 PSA oxygen generation plants at district hospitals in Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh, Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India and Hero MotoCorp are setting up 100 beds hospitals each, Microtek is importing 2000 oxygen concentrators, Venkateshwara Wires, Man Structurals, Balaji Industrial and Basant Fiberteck together have donated 500 beds to COVID Centre at Jaipur,” the official document added.

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