India Crisis: What Can Businesses Do to Help?

Lord Karan Bilimoria, President of the CBI

Just three months ago, sad deaths in India were less than 100 a day in a country of 1.4 billion people. Two months later, the situation had deteriorated considerably. It was horrible to watch this tragedy unfold.

The UK and India share a close bond based on our enduring ties and continued close cooperation. I was proud to chair the B7, organized by the CBI (Confederation of British Industry) earlier in May, where we unanimously agreed to meet the global challenge of the pandemic on a united front. If we are not able to collectively control the spread of the virus, it will remain a huge risk to lives and economies around the world. No one is safe unless we are all safe.

Since April 26, I have been working urgently with my team at CBI, reaching out to our members, including our members who are leading professional associations, to stand in solidarity with India. The CBI works closely with the Indian High Commissioner, Gaitri Issar Kumar, and his team in London and the British High Commissioner, Alex Ellis, and his team in Delhi as well as with the UK Department for International Trade. The CBI office in Delhi is involved everywhere and we are in constant contact with the Confederation of Indian Industry, our sister organization in India.

It is inspiring to see how the UK business community and members of the CBI have come together to support this cause; the generosity and willingness to help were immediate and substantial. Businesses really weathered the crisis in India, as many had done before in the UK, by donating charitable donations to the supply of medicine and oxygen related products. Thanks to all of you for everything you do.

The goal of CBI is to help others do the same and to ensure that the overall response is amplified, relevant and targeted in a way that helps India. Actions that businesses can now take include supporting a charity active in responding to COVID-19 in India, providing needed goods and services on the ground in India, or supporting employees in India and beyond. of the.

Three actions businesses can take now

  1. Support a charity active in the response to COVID-19 in India

CBI members, businesses and their employees across the UK have donated to charities supporting communities across India. We want to work together to set an ambitious goal to create even greater impact.

CBI works with the British Asian Trust, (BAT), which launched the India Stimulus Fund (IRF) to provide support where it is needed most. IRF is the next phase of BAT’s resounding success Oxygen call, for which many of our members have helped raise much-appreciated funds.

The objective of the India Recovery Fund is to raise £ 3M go to the financing of three most important challenges facing the Indian people right now:

  • Speed ​​up vaccinations and urgent medical care
  • Rebuilding livelihoods
  • Protect the mental health of children.

CBI members Accenture and BT helped set up the India Stimulus Fund and made the first donations.

“We are proud to have supported our long-standing partner, the British Asian Trust, through Oxygen call, and are pleased that we can deepen this partnership as a founding partner of this new initiative to help secure a better future for India, ”said Andy Wales, Chief Digital Impact & Sustainability Officer at BT.

To provide a context of what we can achieve:

  • A 50,000 a strong immunization team trained to speed up vaccine deployment and provide basic health care to fight the spread of the virus
  • Enabling thousands of people to earn a sustainable income through skills and support to develop a business or access jobs in critical sectors, such as health and logistics
  • 300,000 children have the skills, emotional resilience and resources to return to school and continue to grow and thrive.

If you would like to donate or learn more, please contact:

Ellie Jones, Senior Program Fundraising Manager at British Asian Trust (07496 131 657) or CBI.

Other CBI members have also supported the British Asian Trust and other charities:

Motorcycle Hospitality the colleagues were so moved by the horrific scenes that they wanted to help. By organizing raffles, bucket collections, hair shaves, bike rides and creating a Just Giving page, they have raised an incredible £ 25,000 which will save over 15,000 lives ”. said Ken McMeikan, general manager of Moto.

Willis Towers Watson continues to make far-reaching contributions in India to our collective fight against COVID-19 by supporting NGOs and charities, ” a spokesperson for Willis Towers Watson said.

  1. Providing goods and services that are in need on the ground in India

At this crucial time, we urge UK businesses to donate essential resources and supplies where they can. We are also working with institutions to support the establishment of Nightingale type hospitals in India.

Items needed include: oxygen generators, ventilators and breathing apparatus, lateral flow tests, empty refillable oxygen cylinders, 30/40/50 metric ton cryogenic tanks, ISO containers, factories In situ oxygen manufacturing for hospitals, oxygen generation plants, two-level positive airway pressure machines (BPAP), PPE, warehousing, transportation and logistics. There is also an urgent need for medicines such as Remidisvir, Regeneron, Tocilizumab and Favipiravir to treat people with the virus.

CBI also works with Rotary International to support effective distribution.

“Rotary International’s extensive presence across India allows us to support implementation and deliver equipment to the right place at the right time,” said Nayan Patel, UK Special Advisor, Rotary India COVID -19 Taskforce.

If you think you can offer these products or services, please contact Peter Werner, who may be able to link your company to the relevant contact at the Indian High Commission.

Over the past few weeks, members of the CBI have stepped forward to provide support with essential resources. My thanks to everyone. Just a few examples:

“In close collaboration with the CBI, Peak Scientific has been able to deliver oxygen to areas in India that need it most, redirecting operational resources to meet demand ”, said Jonathan Golby, CEO.

PG Paper Company Ltd, has pivoted its operations, working around the clock to purchase and deliver thousands of oxygen concentrators in India. More than 1,000 units have already been delivered ”, said Puneet and Poonam Gupta OBE, Joint Managing Directors.

Pfizer mobilized the largest humanitarian relief effort in the history of our company. We are rushing shipments of Pfizer drugs from our distribution centers in the United States, Europe and Asia that have been identified as part of India’s COVID-19 treatment protocol, ” said Ben Osborn, Managing Director and Country Director UK.

“As part of a global response from Linde plc, BOC. We have donated 5,000 bottles of medical oxygen to the Indian Red Cross and are working with the Medaid charity to send our spare oxygen concentrators to India ”. said Steve Thompson, executive director of sales and marketing.

“Following the appeal launched to British companies to support India by the CBI, Rentokil Initial plc started shipping 288 pallets of PPE (including coveralls, masks, gloves) and hand soaps and sanitizers – worth around £ 2.5million. These will be used in over 500 hospitals across India, ”said Andy Ransom, CEO.

Mott MacDonald are working with the CBI and sharing our experiences and lessons from the UK response to COVID-19, where we have helped set up four temporary nightingale hospitals across the country, ” said SS Acharya, Managing Director of India.

Amazon uses its global logistics network to purchase, airlift and deliver some of the critical medical equipment identified by the Indian government and local charities. Amazon will supply oxygen concentrators from Italy, ventilators from the UK and nebulizers and inhalation devices from Germany ”. an Amazon Europe spokesperson said.

Vodafone has undertaken a specific initiative with social sector partners and a few hospitals in 5 cities in India to provide essential equipment including oxygen concentrators, cylinders, intensive care and PPE for community support ” , said a spokesperson for Vodafone.

  1. Support your employees in India and beyond

For companies, the support and well-being of their employees are essential. Many UK companies have colleagues living and working in India who will have been directly affected by the pandemic.

The Chief Human Resources Office India Action Group has been formed by a number of global companies to share ideas and practical information among HR managers trying to help their staff in India. As a network, the goal is to collaborate to accelerate getting help for our employees and the communities in which they live and work, it should connect more than 100 global HR leaders and provide a platform to share resources and best practices.

If your CHRO is interested in getting involved, ask them to register with [email protected]

And for your employees, such as those of Indian descent in the UK, please share with them organizations like GiveUsAShout which offer free, confidential and anonymous SMS support services to those in need of mental health support. . Text SHOUT to 85258.

The health and safety of our employees is our top priority at all times. All of our teams in India are working from home and we continue to provide them with all practical support, including partnering with service providers for virtual health consultations and mental wellness support. It is heartwarming to see the strength and spirit of resilience of our people as they come together to support each other through these difficult times, ”said Kishore Jayaraman, President, Rolls-Royce India and South Asia.

If you can help in any way, make your voice heard. Please contact Peter Werner.

Read more on this question and the CBI’s response: “If you can help, make your voice heard – CBI President on the crisis in India”.


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