Global finance majors rush with Covid aid; Citibank to donate Rs 200 crore

With India continuing to reel under the second wave of COVID-19 infections, multinational financiers pitched in with relief efforts on Wednesday, led by a Rs 200 crore commitment by Citibank

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Coronavirus | Citibank | Wells Fargo

With India continuing to reel under the second wave of COVID-19 infections, multinational financiers pitched in with relief efforts on Wednesday, led by a Rs 200 crore commitment by Citibank.

The relief efforts of the financial sector multinationals — a majority of whom depend on Indian personnel to handle back-office work for their global operations — were focused on providing immediate medical relief to ease the pressure on oxygen availability and healthcare infrastructure.

Other financiers which offered support included Citi’s peer from the US Wells Fargo (USD 3 million), Swiss bank UBS (USD 1.5 million) and alternate investment manager Apollo Global Management (USD 1 million).

Till now, a slew of global companies, especially from the technology sector, and also foreign governments have announced help to India, which is reporting nearly 4 lakh new infections and 3,500 deaths due to the virus everyday.

“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 bank’s efforts will include an immediate relief of Rs 75 crore towards medical and humanitarian needs, a statement said, adding this is in addition to the Rs 75 crore worth of expenditure already incurred in FY21.

The Rs 75 crore relief 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, it said. Funds will also be utilised towards food and hygiene supplies for low-income families.

The remaining pledged amount for India will 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.

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 donating 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, a release 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 (around Rs 7 crore) 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 on LinkedIn.

UBS Group AG, the world’s largest wealth manager, said it is donating USD 1.5 million (around Rs 11 crore) to support a range of relief programs in India.

The first tranche will focus on supply of oxygen, medical supplies and medicine to those most in need.

The bank had donated USD 1 million to support emergency relief for frontline and migrant workers last year in the first wave.

UPS Foundation, the social responsibility arm of the logistics major, has announced a USD 1 million commitment, which will be a a combination of emergency funding, in-kind transportation movements and technical expertise to provide urgent relief, a statement said.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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