American banking major Citibank on Wednesday committed an additional Rs 200 crore to support COVID-19 relief measures in India. The Rs 200 crore amount will be spent over the next three financial years, and a sum of Rs 75 crore will be allocated towards immediate medical and humanitarian needs, an official statement said.
India has been experiencing a shortage of oxygen, medical equipment, and other health infrastructure amid a sharp rise in COVID cases and a slew of multinational companies have rushed with the necessary support. Citi said the immediate support of Rs 75 crore will focus on procurement of oxygen supplies, adding beds to hospitals, diagnostic testing systems, personal protection kits, and other supplies for India’s frontline healthcare workers.
The funds will also be utilized towards food and hygiene supplies for low-income families, it added. ”We have been in India for more than 100 years, and the country is home to over 20,000 of our colleagues. We are determined to support India through this unprecedented health crisis,” Peter Babej, the Asia Pacific chief executive of Citi, said.
The additional pledged amount for India will also be used to fund public and private healthcare infrastructure and to impart employable skills to the youth, thereby promoting economic revival, important for India’s recovery, the bank said. ”This is an extraordinary situation and while the need of the hour is for medical equipment, it is equally important to reinforce the country’s healthcare infrastructure for citizens’ health and safety,” said Ashu Khullar, India CEO of Citi.
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The bank has already deployed Rs 75 crore of pandemic relief in initiatives like 1.15 lakh RT-PCR tests in Maharashtra, delivering 850 tonnes of ration supplies to 26,200 families across 20 locations nationally, and funding six startups incubated at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore’s Society for Development and Innovation. In addition, employees and customers participated in an engagement programme that helped raise Rs 2.25 crore towards the PM-Cares Fund, it said.
Meanwhile, its peer Wells Fargo, which runs an offshore unit in the country to support the global operations, also announced to donate USD 3 million (over Rs 22 crore) to civil society bodies in the country to help the COVID-19 relief efforts. The money will be routed through non-government organisations and used to increase hospital capacity, supply oxygen concentrators and critical medical equipment, provide emergency transportation, and support health care workers, an official statement said.
”These grants can help nonprofits quickly provide much-needed medical equipment and build capacity while providing care for those affected and support for health care professionals tirelessly working to save lives, its vice chairman of public affairs, Bill Daley said. Grants will go to United Way agencies in Bengaluru, Hyderabad, and Chennai; Nirmaan Organization; Akshay Patra Foundation; Mantra Social Services; and NASSCOM Foundation, it said.
The funding will provide portable hospital annex units with 200 beds, deploy oxygen concentrators to hospitals, deliver COVID-19 isolation kits for people recovering at home and support ICU ambulances to help transport patients to hospitals, the statement said. Meanwhile, global alternative investments manager Apollo Global Management has also announced a donation of USD 1 million to ACT Grants via United Way to immediately deploy thousands of oxygen concentrators and other lifesaving medical equipment to fight the COVID surge in India, as per a statement over LinkedIn.
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First Published: IST