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COVID-19 crisis: Citi extends Rs 75 crore for coronavirus aid

PTI     September 28, 2020

Adopting a different approach that focuses on helping the pandemic-affected in kind rather than cash, American lender Citi has extended aid worth Rs 75 crore in a country-wide programme focusing on delivering essentials to households, and other initiatives, officials have said.

Over 700 tonnes of essentials which majorly include food items have reached over 20,000 beneficiaries identified by the Wall Street bank's employees in the country as part of the programme, they said. While different companies adopt different approaches for engaging with the community, a lot of focus seems to be on cash transfers, especially the newly-launched PM-CARES Fund.

According to ratings agency Crisil's estimates, Rs 4,316 crore have been allocated by top corporates to the PM-CARES Fund while Rs 3,221 crore have gone to other aspects related to the pandemic.

Apart from essentials, the bank paid for the testing of over 1 lakh individuals from low-income households in Maharashtra, and provided one million meals to migrants and supported six start-ups working on various aspects related to the pandemic, including in the discovery of a vaccine, officials said.

They added that some of these funds will also be utilised to support a few mid to long term initiatives that are being planned currently. For the essentials programme, it initiated the 'You Nominate, We Donate' programme after the spread of the pandemic, wherein employees flagged potential beneficiaries to the bank.

"We saw this as a way for our family to show their appreciation to those who have been there for them in their own way...this is an extraordinary situation, and we wanted our employees to feel part of the process of serving our communities," Citi India chief executive Ashu Khullar said.

A single packet containing a month's supplies for a family, including 10 kg rice, 10 kg wheat flour, 5 kg pulses, 1 kg salt and 2 kg sugar, tea or coffee, toothpaste, bathing soap, feminine hygiene products and clothes washing soap was handed over to the beneficiaries, the bank said.

Its public affairs officer Debasis Ghosh said the nutritional value, brands, and dietary preferences for each city were primary considerations taken on board while extending the help. Almost three-fourths of its employees participated in the programme, helping identify the beneficiaries. Over 1.15 lakh calls were made to all the beneficiaries to check their antecedents and coordinate.

Almost three-fourths of its employees participated in the programme, helping identify the beneficiaries. Over 1.15 lakh calls were made to all the beneficiaries to check their antecedents and coordinate. So far, more than 900 trucks have travelled 70,000 km to deliver over 740 tonnes of rations to 22,500 families, which translates to over 6.75 million meals over a month for more than one lakh individuals, the bank said.

Ghosh said it has over 3,000 more packages which will be delivered to the needy.

Also read: COVID-19 proves to be a boon for this Bengaluru health-tech startup


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