Beating Covid-19
ECONOMY & POLICY

Beating Covid-19

Coronavirus pandemic has created panic worldwide including India. As situation aggravates, Indian companies from across sectors are stepping up to support the nation in this critical time. Recently, the Reliance Foundation announced the scaling up of its operations to address the growin...

Coronavirus pandemic has created panic worldwide including India. As situation aggravates, Indian companies from across sectors are stepping up to support the nation in this critical time. Recently, the Reliance Foundation announced the scaling up of its operations to address the growing needs of Covid-19 management in Mumbai. In active cooperation with the Government of Maharashtra and Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), Reliance Foundation unveiled four more initiatives to tackle the crisis. Under these, the Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital will manage a 650-bed Covid-19 facility at the National Sports Club of India in Worli and also take over the operations of a 550-bed ward, currently operated by the BMC from May 1; the Reliance Foundation will also set up and manage 100 ICU beds in phases from May 15. At Worli, a team of more than 500 frontline workers comprising doctors, nurses and non-medical professionals will be deployed round-the-clock. The Reliance Foundation has also announced the addition of 25 ICU beds at the Seven Hills Hospital in Mumbai, creating a total of 125 beds being managed by Reliance Foundation Hospital including 45 ICU beds. Last year, the Reliance Foundation and BMC had set up India’s first covid hospital with a dedicated 225-bed facility at the hospital. Out of the 225 beds, 100 beds, including 20 ICU beds, are exclusively managed by Sir H N Reliance Foundation hospital. Reliance Foundation said all covid patients in NSCI and Seven Hills Hospital will be treated free of cost. Similarly, like Reliance Foundation, other companies too came forward to help treat Covid-19. Jindal Stainless produces liquid oxygen at its stainless steel manufacturing facility in Hisar for industrial purposes. Recently, in wake of high oxygen demand from hospitals due to the second wave of pandemic, Jindal Stainless has been consistently supplying approximately 8 tonne/day liquid oxygen to all the nearby medical facilities in Haryana. Jindal Stainless has been supplying oxygen to Jindal Institute of Medical Sciences in Hisar, Maharaja Agrasen Medical College in Agroha, Maharishi Markandeshwar Institute of Medical Sciences in Mullana, and balance available oxygen is being supplied to cylinder re-fillers. Noting an acute shortage of oxygen in the Delhi-NCR region, Jindal Stainless recently began supplies to Medanta, Gurgaon, and Moolchand hospital in Delhi. Jindal Stainless has airlifted liquid medical oxygen from its facility in Odisha. The first batch of 14.79 MT of liquid medical oxygen was dispatched on May 1 from the Odisha facility. The allocation of the liquid medical oxygen will be according to the demand from various hospitals. Commenting on this, Managing Director, Jindal Stainless, Abhyuday Jindal, said, “We are ready to take all decisions in the interest of the nation, and saving the lives of our people is our priority at the moment. We will airlift the liquid medical oxygen from our Odisha facility to reduce any loss of time. I am personally monitoring the status of supply on a daily basis so that there is no shortage of oxygen.” Jindal Stainless has been supplying oxygen to nearby hospitals since the outbreak of the pandemic in April 2020 and has supplied over 2,170 tonnes of oxygen to medical facilities so far. In line with its country-first motto, the company is prepared to supply more to hospitals in need even at the expense of its production commitments. ArcelorMittal Nippon Steel India (AM/NS India), a JV between ArcelorMittal and Nippon Steel, has set up a 250-bed covid care hospital at Hazira, which will receive an uninterrupted supply of oxygen gas from its plant. This facility will be scaled up to a 1,000-bed centre in the near future. This dedicated 250-bed covid care hospital near the AM/NS India Hazira manufacturing plant will admit only patients who need oxygen. AM/NS India will ensure speedy transfer of patients via ambulances to nearby hospitals in case they require more intensive medical intervention. Keeping in mind the logistics challenges and technical limitations involved in transporting oxygen to the hospitals, the decision was taken to set up this facility, thus ensuring continuous oxygen supply in addition to saving time. On the current covid situation in India, Aditya Mittal, CEO ArcelorMittal & Chairman, AM/NS India, said, “The covid situation in India is heartbreaking and has the attention of the whole world. It is important that countries and companies pool their resources to provide support. ArcelorMittal is committed to playing its part. Our company in India is sending daily oxygen to local medical facilities and we have partnered with the local government in Gujarat and have opened a 250 bed capacity hospital, which is being expanded to a 1000. We are monitoring the situation closely and will provide whatever assistance we are able to.” Tata Group too has pledged to support the government’s effort to increase the production and supply of medical oxygen or liquid oxygen. The group announced that it would be importing 24 cryogenic containers to transport liquid oxygen to help overcome its shortage. It may be noted that cryogenic liquid containers are double-walled vessels with multilayer insulation and are designed for the storage of liquefied gases at very low temperatures. India is currently witnessing a shortage of cryogenic containers, which are required for transferring medical oxygen to hospitals. By the end of the month, the company hopes to increase the number of tankers to 38 as it will help augment the capacity that can be transferred to hospitals at this hour of urgency. As the country reels under the second wave of Covid-19, the unavailability of oxygen supply has been one of the biggest challenges. Keeping this in mind, the startup community in India has leveraged their expertise to drive solutions that can help solve the challenges that exist so that as a country, we fight the Covid-19 battle together. The Mahindra Group has rolled out a free service initiative, ‘Oxygen on Wheels’ (O2W), which will strengthen the availability of oxygen by connecting oxygen producers with the hospitals and medical centres in dire need of it. O2W is launched in Mumbai, Thane, Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad, Chakan, Nasik and Nagpur with over 100 Mahindra vehicles ferrying oxygen, at the present. Mahindra Group has been at the forefront in the fight against Covid-19. The Group’s efforts cover a wide spectrum – from raising funds to sustain the government’s relief efforts and providing ICU beds, emergency cab services, quarantine centres, to monetary support and dry rations for the underprivileged, to re-engineering its production lines and facilities to manufacture much-needed PPE, face shields, face masks and aerosol boxes to aid the fight against coronavirus. Dhruvil Sanghvi, CEO of LogiNext, a global technology and automation company, said, “While there is a fair supply of oxygen that exists, there is a disconnect when it comes to distribution chains. That said, there are proactive steps being taken to mobilise delivery partners for this purpose. The startup community in Mumbai has reached out to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to offer logistics support for oxygen delivery. LogiNext is in the process of launching a service in collaboration with over 50 delivery platforms in the country to help deliver oxygen cylinders, which should be ready to go live by early next week. The service will integrate an oxygen delivery option in addition to the regular delivery requirements that the platforms address.” JCB has taken a proactive approach to protect their employees throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, continually adapting procedures to stay up-to-date with the CDC recommended guidelines. Continuing this approach, JCB implemented mandatory PCR Covid testing every week, which is available both at the office and offsite for those who were working on remote rotation. Additionally, new leave policies support employees who must take time off related to Covid, and in June, the company offered antibody testing for any interested employee. Volvo Group India has joined forces with the Government of Karnataka to control the transmission of this disease. The leading manufacturers of trucks, buses, construction equipment and marine and industrial engines, handed over medical materials worth Rs 10 lakh to the health officer at Government Hospital and MVJ Medical College and Research Hospital, at Hoskote, for the protection of healthcare professionals and workers – doctors, nurses, and hospital staff, along with masks for the patients. Volvo Group India also handed over masks and sanitizers to the Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) at Hosakote and Nadagudi, to protect the front-line warriors from exposure to this infectious disease. Kamal Bali – President & Managing Director, Volvo Group India, said, “While the Government has taken measures to flatten the curve and keep the daily number of cases at a level manageable for health-care systems, it is important that we all come together and help in fighting novel coronavirus. Today, healthcare professionals and police personnel are at significant risk as they are exposed to a large number of patients and potential carriers of the virus. We see them working round-the-clock to keep all of us safe. Given this situation as a responsible corporate citizen, we have come forward to donate these medical supplies to them.” CNH Industrial (India) continues to ramp up its CSR activities in India in response to the Covid-19 pandemic by donating one lakh surgical masks and 50,000 100 ml-bottles of hand sanitizer, reconfirming its commitment to supporting those in need. These items have been donated to the district administration of Greater Noida, Pune and Pithampur (MP), Gurugram and South Delhi Municipal Corporation. By distributing to these government entities, the correct distribution of the materials is ensured to hospitals and frontline health workers based on priority. “Apart from being a close ally to the farming and construction community by presenting schemes that aim to ease their financial burden through our dealer network, we have scaled up our CSR activities in these difficult times to our extended stakeholder community which has been impacted relatively hard from the situation,” said Tarun Khanna, Chief Marketing Officer, CNH Industrial India. Tata Motors remains vigilant about the evolving COVID situation and has scaled up efforts to enhance the wellbeing of its personnel and their supporting ecosystem. Keeping employee safety foremost, standard operating procedures have been updated for the prevailing second wave with the focus on expediting vaccinations, providing support to affected employees and their family members. The lockdown enforced in various parts of the country is expected to impact vehicle demand temporarily. Hence, the company has set in motion a comprehensive ‘Business Agility Plan’ to protect and serve the interests of its customers, dealers and suppliers. By carefully calibrating and matching supplies with retail demand, Tata Motors shall ensure that optimal levels of inventory are maintained with dealers to meet whatever customer demands arise and also be prepared for a rebound in demand once the situation returns to normalcy. We will also continue to review and plan for the critical raw materials to cater to this volatile demand outlook and work closely with our vendor partners to meet the same.

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