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US companies form global task force to help India combat COVID crisis

A newly formed PPP global task force consisting of US companies like Accenture, Apple, IBM, Microsoft, Walmart expedite medical supplies and other assistance to help India fight the pandemic

Rukmini Rao | May 5, 2021 | Updated 23:00 IST
US companies form global task force to help India combat COVID crisis

The newly formed global task force on pandemic response of United States-based companies under the US Chamber of Commerce and supported US-India Business Council (USIBC)and the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum have announced several initiatives that are being undertaken to help address the pandemic surge in India.

The task force includes leading US companies, business organisations and non-profits, including Accenture, Amazon, American Red Cross, Apple, Bank of America, DHL Express, Dow, FedEx, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Mastercard, Medtronic, Microsoft, PepsiCo, UPS, VMware, and Walmart International. It is being led by a steering committee comprised of global business leaders like Julie Sweet, CEO, Accenture; Andy Jassy, CEO, Amazon Web Services; Tim Cook, CEO, Apple; Arvind Krishna, Chairman and CEO, IBM; and Judith McKenna, President and CEO, Walmart International, among others.

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The initiatives undertaken by the task force include purchasing 1,000 Medtronic ventilators. The first ventilators which arrive in India on May 5 are being fully funded by Amazon; all 1,000 ventilators are expected to arrive in the country by June 3. The task force has also delivered 1,000 oxygen concentrators, provided by Deloitte with FedEx providing critical logistical support. The companies will further deliver 25,000 additional mobile oxygen concentrators by the end of the month, with a goal of providing 100,000 concentrators. It will also create a Chief Human Resources Officer India Action Group to shares ideas and practical information among CHROs who are trying to help their people in India.

In the company's blog, Kate Behncken, Vice President and Lead of Microsoft Philanthropies, wrote they were stepping up help to address urgent needs in the broader community. "This includes daily crisis management team meetings in Redmond and India with teams across the company. These calls allow us to quickly identify areas where Microsoft can help and ensure we can move quickly to respond."

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Earlier Arvind Krishna, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of IBM, in an address to the employees said the company was working with USIBC to provide critical aid to India, including donating funds for 2,500 oxygen concentrators and working with local partners to fund emergency hospital beds in communities where the teams live and work.

Rekha Menon, Senior Managing Director of Accenture in India and NASSCOM Chairperson, in a social media post said that the company has made a fresh pledge of $25 million and is providing COVID-19 support kits and PPE kits to frontline healthcare workers while also providing food and COVID-19 at-home care kits to unemployed and poor people. "We are also engaging with the government to support vaccination camps and provide local language call center support," she said.

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