As Covid-19 Dampens Economic Prospects, Big Industries Chip In With Donations


Reliance Industries (RIL), which last week announced the setting up of India’s first 100-bed dedicated Covid-19 hospital in Mumbai, Said on Monday that it has donated Rs 500 crore to the Prime Minister’s relief fund.This makes the energy-to-education enterprise the largest corporate contributor to the emergency relief fund launched by PM Narendra Modi last week.

Besides RIL, PSU oil producer ONGC donated Rs 300 crore to the relief fund instituted by the Centre. ONGC’s contribution is the biggest support offered by a PSU in India’s ongoing fight against the virus onslaught.

Engineering giant Larsen & Toubro and government-owned miner NMDC too pledged Rs 150 crore each to the relief fund while Ahmedabad-based Torrent, New Delhi-located Hero and Bengaluru-headquartered Infosys committed Rs 100 crore each to various Covid-19 relief initiatives with half of the sum going to the newly formed PM’s citizen assistance fund.

Coronavirus cases have crossed the 1,300 mark even as the nation is in the midst of a three-week economic and social lockdown. Corporate commitments are increasing while the ongoing lockdown impacts businesses hugely.

TVS Group, which last week announced a Rs 30-crore support for supply of masks and tractors fitted with disinfectant spray, said on Monday that it will donate an additional Rs 25 crore to the PM’s relief fund. Contributions to the PM’s relief fund are exempted from income tax and qualify as CSR expenditure that companies are mandated to make.

Besides donations, these companies are providing ventilators among other medical devices (which are currently in shortage) and offering their hostels, guesthouses, training centres and hospitals as quarantine centres to ease the pressure on government-run medical facilities.

L&T has also set aside Rs 500 crore per month to support 1.60 lakh contract workers by continuing to pay their wages during the ongoing lockdown. The shutdown has dried up jobs in cities for rural migrants, which form a large chunk of the country’s workforce, forcing them to walk miles to head back to their homes. The Shapoorji Pallonji Group also announced that it will take care of its 70,000-plus migrant workers.

Further, Mumbai-based Mankind Pharma has donated Rs 51 crore to Covid-19 relief funds, while Asian Paints has committed Rs 35 crore. Medicine-maker Hetero, textile-to-power group LNJ Bhilwara and financial services firm IIFL too contributed Rs 10 crore, Rs 6 crore and Rs 5 crore to the said schemes, respectively.