COVID-19: Google announces Rs1.35 billion grant for India

New Delhi: Google on Monday announced Rs1.35 billion ($18 million; Dh66 million) to help get urgent medical supplies, including oxygen and testing equipment, for India that is currently going through a devastating Covid wave.

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The donation includes two grants from Google.org, Google’s philanthropic arm, totaling Rs250 million.

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“The first is to GiveIndia to provide cash assistance to families hit hardest by the crisis to help with their everyday expenses. The second will go to UNICEF to help get urgent medical supplies, including oxygen and testing equipment, to where it’s needed most in India,” said Sanjay Gupta, Country Head and VP, India.

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It also includes donations from Google’s ongoing employee giving campaign – so far more than 900 Googlers have contributed Rs37 million for organisations supporting high-risk and marginalized communities.

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Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai tweeted: “Devastated to see the worsening Covid crisis in India. Google & Googlers are providing Rs135 Crore in funding to @GiveIndia,@UNICEF for medical supplies, orgs supporting high-risk communities, and grants to help spread critical information”.

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India is going through its most difficult moment in the pandemic thus far.

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Daily COVID-19 cases continue to set record highs, with hospitals filled to capacity and in need of urgent supplies to cope with the increasing number of patients.

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The Google funding also includes increased Ad Grant support for public health information campaigns.

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“We’re increasing our support today with an additional Rs112 crore in Ad Grants to local health authorities and nonprofits for more language coverage options,” Gupta mentioned.

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COVID features on Search are available in India, in English and eight Indian languages, and the company said it is continuing to improve localization and highlight authoritative information.

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“That includes information on where to get testing and vaccines; so far, Maps and Search surface thousands of vaccine sites, and we are working to add tens of thousands more. We’re also collaborating closely with the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, and with organisations like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to support vaccine awareness initiatives,” Google elaborated.

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Meanwhile, Amazon on Sunday announced it would donate 10,000 oxygen concentrators and BiPAP machines to hospitals and public institutions across multiple cities in India.

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The first of these consignments was set to land in Mumbai on Sunday and a majority of the shipping is expected to be completed by April 30.

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Amazon has joined hands with ACT Grants, Temasek Foundation, Pune Platform for COVID-19 Response (PPCR) and other partners to urgently airlift over 8,000 oxygen concentrators and 500 BiPAP machines from Singapore.

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Additionally, Amazon India is also procuring over 1,500 oxygen concentrators and other critical medical equipment in partnership with non-profits including Swasth, Concern India and impact organisations like ACT Grants and Sattva Consulting.

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The company said that the organisations are working closely with the Indian government to expedite the entry of these oxygen concentrators and BiPAP machines into the country.

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“We stand firmly with the country, deploying our global logistics network to urgently airlift the needed oxygen concentrators to support the nation’s immediate need,” said Amit Agarwal, Global SVP and Country Head, Amazon India.

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Amazon will bear the cost of airlifting these oxygen concentrators and BiPAP machines, procured through multiple funders including ACT Grants and PPCR from Singapore to India through Air India and other international carriers.

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Additionally, the company will also manage the movement of these oxygen concentrators and other donations from the local airport to identified hospitals and institutions.

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