Monday, June 21, 2021 | 08:02 pm

#StartupsVsCOVID19: CEOs Of Apple, AWS, Walmart And Others Launch Global Task Force To Back India’s Fight Against COVID

#StartupsVsCOVID19: CEOs Of Apple, AWS, Walmart And Others Launch Global Task Force To Back India’s Fight Against COVID

The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has devastated India’s healthcare system and laid bare the deficiencies in the infrastructure. On May 5, 2021, India recorded 4.12 lakh new daily cases and 3,980 deaths, the country’s highest daily death toll and the world’s highest tally of total cases in a single country in a day. Despite this news about acute shortages of hospital beds, unavailability of medical-grade oxygen, and more continues to dominate the mainstream discussion, so much so that the world’s biggest companies are taking notice.

To buttress India’s COVID relief efforts, global corporations are joining startups to provide essential supplies and back other relief efforts.

Tech CEOs Back India’s COVID Fight

US-based public and private organizations have come together in the form of The Global Task Force on Pandemic Response, a partnership being led by the US Chamber of Commerce and supported by Business Roundtable, US-India Business Council and the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum, and a slew of tech CEOs from the US.

The steering committee of the task force includes the likes of members, Accenture CEO Julie Sweet, Walmart president and CEO Judith McKenna, Amazon Web Services chief and future Amazon CEO Andy Jassy, Apple CEO Tim Cook, FedEx president and director Raj Subramaniam, IBM chairman Arvind Krishna, Mastercard’s Michael Miebach, Microsoft president Brad Smith, as well as CEOs of PepsiCo, UPS, Johnson & Johnson, VMware among others.

The main objectives include sourcing, shipping , and delivering 1,000 Puritan Bennett ventilators starting May 5 till June 3. Medtronic will manufacture the ventilators and handle end-to-end shipping, installation, and ongoing and virtual training. FedEx is supporting the delivery of 25,000 oxygen concentrators by the end of May. The task force will concentrate its efforts around the areas where corporate support will be most beneficial, according to a statement.

Other Global Tech Companies Rush To India’s Aid

Besides the ‘Global Task Force’, several other companies have joined the global mobilization effort for providing medical supplies and aid to India. For instance, US software giant Salesforce is also sending medical supplies including oxygen concentrators and pulse oximeters, which will reach India on May 8.

Cloud communications SaaS company Twilio has also stepped in. The company has said that it will donate double the amount of each donation made by an employee for COVID relief efforts in India. Twilio’s employees will be making their donations to AID India, Give2Asia, and Direct Relief.

Last month, e-commerce giant Amazon had announced that it was working with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to procure 100 ventilators from overseas and import these to India. Recently, Amazon Europe has also committed $2.5 Mn in aid for India. Amazon’s European business will deliver oxygen concentrators from Italy, ventilators from the UK, and nebulizers and inhalation devices from Germany. Amazon says that these will be provided to local charities and Amazon will also be utilizing its vast logistics network, to help deliver the equipment to hospitals, medical facilities, and public institutions.

Inc42 has earlier reported on how Indian startups have mobilized resources and funds to contribute to India’s COVID fight. Moreover, global cryptocurrency stakeholders have also set up a COVID relief fund for India, where people can donate their crypto assets towards the cause. Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai has also announced that the US tech giant will donate INR 135 Cr to GiveIndia and Unicef to aid India’s COVID relief efforts.