Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella on Wednesday said the US technology giant is committed to use its resources to support the pandemic relief efforts in India and it is mobilising to address the country’s most urgent needs.
India is struggling with a second wave of the pandemic with more than 3,00,000 daily new coronavirus cases being reported in the past few days, and hospitals are reeling under a shortage of medical oxygen and beds.
“We are committed to using our resources to support pandemic relief efforts in India and are mobilising to address the country’s most urgent needs, partnering across the business community with US Chambers (of Commerce) to provide critical medical supplies,” 53-year-old India-born Nadella said.
Microsoft, which has several thousand employees across 11 locations in India, and many more in other countries with families in India, on Wednesday became a founding member of the Global Task Force on Pandemic Response and announced a series of assistance towards COVID-19 relief in India.
“Our thoughts are with the millions who are impacted, including their relatives living abroad. Microsoft has had a presence in India for nearly three decades and our teams in the country play an important role for the company that stretches well beyond India’s borders,” said Kate Behncken, vice president and lead of Microsoft Philanthropies.
In a blog post, Behncken said Microsoft has taken two steps to help address the severe shortage of oxygen for patients in India.
As part of the Global Task Force on Pandemic Response, through a significant financial donation from Microsoft Philanthropies, it has joined with other companies to purchase 1,000 much-needed ventilators for hospitals in India.
Second, as part of the task force, it is working with the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum and other companies to provide 25,000 oxygen concentration devices to health care facilities in India, Behncken said.
Over the last week, Microsoft employees have already raised over USD 3 million (including Microsoft’s matched contribution) for organisations working on the ground in India, including Oxfam India and UNICEF.
Behncken said Microsoft ensures that every commercial and government organisation in India has free access to the full capabilities of Microsoft teams as they respond to changing conditions on the ground.
“We have also activated the Microsoft Disaster Response Team to provide technology support to efforts combating the outbreak in India, who are in frequent touch with both government agencies and first responders in the country to see how we can help,” he wrote.
Observing that the entire country is reeling under the devastating impact of the pandemic, Bechcken said, “As we witness the impact on friends, co-workers and the broader community, it is clear we can and must help. We are focused on using our technology, skills, resources and voice to assist in the global response.
Earlier in the day, the newly created global task force of CEOs of top 40 American companies announced an effort to provide massive COVID-19 emergency relief material, including 1,000 ventilators and 25,000 oxygen concentrators, to India in its fight against the coronavirus.
According to Indian health ministry data on Wednesday, a record 3,780 fresh COVID-19 fatalities were registered in a single day in India, taking the death toll to 2,26,188, while 3,82,315 new coronavirus infections were recorded. With the fresh cases, the total tally of COVID-19 cases in the country climbed to 2,06,65,148.