India is fighting a devastating Covid crisis in which health infrastructure has collapsed with people dying due to the non-availability of beds and life-saving drugs. The situation is so grim that patients are gasping for breath as hospitals face a shortage of medical oxygen. India’s social media is filled with SOS messages and appeals for help, looking for ICU beds and oxygen cylinders. Healthcare workers are racing against time to save as many lives as possible. In just last 24 hours, India reported over 3.23 lakh new Covid-19 cases and 2,771 deaths.
Against this backdrop where India’s healthcare system continues to be under pressure, corporate India and some of India’s biggest business groups have come forward to fight this deadly second wave of coronavirus and help India survive this phase. From diverting their resources to increase the production of medical oxygen to supplying medical equipment, India Inc is doing its bit. Here's a look at some of the Business Groups that are lending a helping hand.
Tata Group & Reliance Industries lead the way
Amid the oxygen shortage in the country, salt-to-software Indian conglomerate Tata Group is making efforts to increase the production and supply of medical oxygen. On April 20, Tata Group said that it is importing 24 cryogenic containers to transport liquid oxygen and help ease the oxygen shortage in the country. India is currently witnessing a shortage of cryogenic containers which are double-walled vessels with multilayer insulation and are designed for the storage of liquefied gases at very low temperatures. Out of 24 cryogenic containers, four have already landed in India on April 24.
Tata Steel, the steelmaking arm of the Tata group, has already diverted oxygen resources from its plants for medical purpose. It has also planned to increase medical oxygen supply to 700 metric tonnes.
This is not the first time the Tata group is supporting the country in a time of crisis. Last year when the country was hit by the first wave of coronavirus, Tata Group had pledged Rs 1,500 crore for battling the coronavirus pandemic in the country. It had imported ventilators, PPE kits, masks, gloves, as well as COVID-19 testing kits from countries like the US, China and South Korea.
On the other hand, Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries has also committed to increasing the supply of liquid oxygen to over 700 metric tonnes per day to states like Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat.
Reliance Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Reliance Industries Limited, has also ramped up its efforts in Mumbai to meet the medical needs of people. Hospitals with Reliance Foundation will be managing nearly 875 beds, including 145 ICU beds.
Nerves of Steel
Major steel companies in India are also chipping in with their resources. JSW steel is diverting liquid medical oxygen from its three plants in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu to meet the high demand for oxygen in hospitals. The company supplied 898 metric tonnes of oxygen daily between April 21 and April 23. It is also planning to supply over 900 tonnes a day by the end of this month.
Naveen Jindal, Chairman of Jindal Steel and Power, has also committed to supplying 500 metric tonnes of oxygen and is actively dispatching it to needy hospitals. The company is coordinating with different state governments to meet the demand for oxygen shortage in various states. On Sunday, April 25, Oxygen Express carrying 64.55 tonnes of medical oxygen left for Delhi from Jindal Steel and Power’s Raigarh plant.
The Adani power
Adani group has also joined efforts to augment the medical oxygen supply in the country. The Gautam Adani-led group has arranged four ISO cryogenic tanks with 80 metric tonnes of liquid oxygen from Saudi Arabia. The company is also procuring 5,000 medical-grade oxygen cylinders from Linde Saudi Arabia.
Others step forward
A host of other companies have assured to help India fight the war against COVID-19. Foodtech platform Zomato has rolled out a priority delivery feature for Covid-19 emergencies, including oxygen. It has started an initiative called “Help Save My India,” under which the firms are raising around Rs 50 crore for sourcing oxygen concentrators and other medical supplies.
Paytm is aiming to raise Rs 10 crore to donate oxygen concentrators across the country. The company has already placed an order for importing 1,000 Oxygen Concentrators worth Rs 4 crores.
Fintech startup CRED is also trying to help with oxygen supplies and has partnered with healthcare fundraising platform Milaap to procure and distribute oxygen concentrators in the country.
Meanwhile, a total of 3,52,991 fresh COVID-19 cases with 2,812 deaths were reported on Monday, April 26.