Where the relief money from big tech actually goes- Technology News, Technomiz

Where the relief money from big tech actually goes- Technology News, Technomiz

As India grapples with a prolonged and aggressive second wave of COVID-19, a majority of patients are struggling to find basic amenities such as hospital beds, medical oxygen and medicines, among other things. With the medical infrastructure in the country stretched razor thin, several tech companies including Samsung, Paytm, Twitter, Xiaomi and others have stepped in with donations and pledges.

We have come across regular announcements from different tech companies over the past few weeks. We also asked these tech companies where their donations were headed and how their pledge money was going to be utilised.

Here’s a look at the timeline of when and how tech companies announced their pledges for COVID-19 relief in India.

Xiaomi donates 1,000 oxygen concentrators

On 22 April, Xiaomi donated Rs 3 crore to procure over 1,000 oxygen concentrators for hospitals across India. It also partnered with Give India to raise Rs 1 crore for COVID-19 frontline workers.

We also reached out to Xiaomi to understand how and where the oxygen concentrators were donated in India, but received no response.

Cred donates Rs 10 crore to Milaap, Hemkunt Foundation, and Give India

Early in April, Cred allowed users to pledge their Cred Coins to help the company deploy funds towards COVID-19 relief work in India. Cred donated Rs 10 crore to Milaap, Hemkunt Foundation, and Give India. Its first shipment arrived on 1 May, 2021.

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From this contribution, as of 3 May, 450 oxygen concentrators were deployed and distributed to hospitals across India. The concentrators operate at a capacity of five litres per minute each. In total, Cred says it will be deploying over 100 million litres of oxygen with the help of their partners at Hemkunt Foundation and Milaap.

Vivo extends aid worth Rs 10 crore

On 4 May, 2021, Chinese smartphone brand Vivo extended aid worth Rs 10 crore towards COVID-19 relief.

Tech2 reached out to Vivo for a breakup of the Rs 10 crore donation. Here’s what we found out:

  • Rs 2 crore was given to the Uttar Pradesh government
  • “Some” oxygen concentrators were donated to ISKCON; the organisation also distributed one lakh meals to support COVID-19 patients and their families in Gurgaon
  • A part of the donation went to Akshaya Patra Foundation for meals to COVID-19-affected families and distributing 522 happiness kits among students in Delhi
  • Two ambulances fitted with cardio-ventilator machines will be deployed

Samsung donates Rs 37 crore, medical kits, oxygen concentrators and cylinders

On 4 May, 2021, Samsung pledged $5 million (around Rs 37 crore) as COVID-19 relief aid to central and state governments in India. This donation included 100 oxygen concentrators, 3,000 oxygen cylinders and one million LDS syringes.

Additionally, on 20 May, Samsung India announced it has donated 14,000 medical kits, 24 oxygen concentrators and 150 oxygen cylinders to Karnataka. The Samsung R&D Institute Bengaluru collaborated with Shrimad Rajchandra Sarvamangal Trust to distribute medical kits, and donated 14 oxygen concentrators to charitable hospitals working towards COVID-19 relief.

Image: tech2/Nandini Yadav

Image: tech2/Nandini Yadav

Paytm pledges to set up oxygen plants across India

On 4 May, Paytm announced it would set up oxygen plants across 12-13 cities in India, and that these plants would be directly installed at hospitals. Paytm is currently in dialogue with State governments and hospitals for affirmation and approval to set up these oxygen plants.

Paytm Foundation also said it sourced over 21,000 oxygen concentrators that will be sent to government hospitals, COVID-19 care facilities, private hospitals, nursing homes as well as Resident Welfare Associations this month.

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“The company has currently raised Rs 10 crore from people across the country under its #OxygenForIndia initiative, and has mirrored the donation amount, making it a total contribution of Rs 20 crore. Paytm is working in conjunction with other prominent organisations including Elevation Capital and the American Indian Foundation. The donation garnered under the initiative will be used to purchase oxygen concentrators and oxygen plants, costing between Rs 50 lakh to 1 crore each,” Paytm said.

Twitter donates over Rs 110 crore towards COVID-19 relief

On 10 May, Twitter pledged $15 million (Rs 110.22 crore) to help address the COVID-19 crisis in India. Twitter CEO Jack Patrick Dorsey announced the amount has been donated to three non-governmental organisations – Care, Aid India and Sewa International USA. While CARE has been given $10 million, Aid India and Sewa International USA have received USD 2.5 million each.

Ola delivers oxygen concentrators at the doorstep

Through its philanthropic arm Ola Foundation, Ola announced the O2forIndia initiative in Bengaluru on 12 May to provide free doorstep delivery of oxygen concentrators. The company rolled out the service in Bengaluru with an initial set of 500 oxygen concentrators.

Ola says it will also be scaling up the service to provide 10,000 concentrators across India in the coming weeks.

LG pledges to help 10 makeshift hospitals across India

On 12 May, LG Electronics pledged help to 10 makeshift hospitals across India. This will be done in association with local government bodies and NGOs. As a part of this association, LG will be also providing financial assistance of $5.5 million to set up medical infrastructure.

LG was unavailable to provide more information on which ‘makeshift hospitals’ it is helping or the government bodies or NGOs it has associated with for the same.

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Acer donates oxygen concentrators to hospitals across India

On 18 May, Acer announced its first batch of oxygen concentrators had arrived in India.

“Acer has donated oxygen concentrators to NGOs and hospitals like Manipal and Apollo, as well as to a government hospital in Pondicherry to provide the critical medical oxygen requirement for COVID-19 patients. The first batch of oxygen concentrators has already rolled out. This is over and above the oxygen cylinders provided including the continuous refilling of them to an NGO in Bengaluru,” Harish Kohli, President & MD, Acer India told tech2.

However, it’s still unclear how many oxygen concentrators Acer has pledged in total, and how many were part of the first batch that was rolled out.

Huawei pledges Rs 5 crore towards COVID-19 relief in India

On 20 May, Huawei announced it will be facilitating the availability of 400 oxygen concentrators, 400 contactless Remote Vital Parameter Monitoring devices, 25 HFNC CPAP oxygen therapy systems and other medical supplies worth Rs 5 crore for Indian public hospitals, makeshift hospitals and other facilities for COVID-19 patients. The initiative is also providing aid for scaling-up and incubation support to partner organisations.

Oppo donates 1,000 oxygen concentrators

On 25 May, Oppo announced it has distributed 1,000 oxygen concentrators across various hospitals in Lucknow, Gautam Buddha Nagar, Ghaziabad, Hapur, Meerut, Baghpat, Bulandshahar, Shamli and Agra to support COVID-19 relief measures.

India needs all the help it can get

Bearing in mind the severity of the crisis we are facing in India, when it comes to aid and donation, even more is less.

As we are fighting a debilitating second wave of COVID-19 in the country, we’re faced with the threat of a third wave, which, as per experts, may affect children as well. The government’s principal scientific advisor K Vijay Raghavan said a third COVID wave “is inevitable” in India.

This makes it critical for more and more companies, organisations and individuals to step in now and not be distracted by the falling numbers, so that if and when the third wave hits us, we are well equipped to fight it.


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