India Inc hands out relief aid to fight COVID-19

Several brands have announced relief packages to help the nation in a state of lockdown due to the pandemic

e4m by Sanstuti Nath
Updated: Mar 30, 2020 10:41 AM

From setting up a medical centre dedicated to COVID-19 affected patients, to pledging monetary help for the affected, the India Inc is doing its bit to help the nation navigate through these tough times. In the process of defeating the virus, brands are investing in people’s faith and trust.

Leading the way, Anand Mahindra has announced that the Mahindra Group will “immediately begin work on how our manufacturing facilities can make ventilator”. In a series of tweets, the Mahindra Group Chairman offered to convert the brand’s holiday resorts into temporary care facilities for virus-affected patients, along with pledging to create a fund for SMEs and SMBs. He also said he would donate 100% of his salary to the fund.

Following suit were big brands like Vedanta, Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), Diageo India, Paytm, Hero Cycle, Tata Sons, Hindustan Unilever Limited, Godrej and Uber.

We reached out to few brands and experts to know how why it becomes important for labels to step up in times of crisis.

Ankit Mehrotra, Co-Founder & CEO - Dineout said: “Being a restaurant tech solution, we at Dineout have always believed in a restaurant first approach to help our partners with solutions in times of need. While we are encouraging our diners to stay home despite the financial implications, local restaurant businesses need our support more than ever as they face severe losses. They closed their operations for our safety, it's time for us as a community to support them now so they can continue to serve us tomorrow.”

To help the F&B industry and local restaurant deal with the huge losses faced due to the nationwide lockdown, Dineout has introduced “Restaurant Vouchers” that customers can purchase now and redeem later when the pandemic subsides. Dineout has also started an online petition requesting the government to support the restaurant industry via employee unemployment pay cover amongst other restaurant needs as requested by NRAI. 

Network18, a subsidiary of RIL, also came up with the #IndiaGives campaign as part of which, over 6,000 employees working under the network donated a day’s salary to the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund.

Talking about the campaign, Avinash Kaul, CEO, Network 18, said: “Network18 takes its responsibility as a corporate citizen and a force for good in society very seriously.” 

“With a reach of 7 crore people daily and 70 crore annually across 15 languages in 26 states, it is imperative that a news network of our might bring to its viewers issues that we believe in,” he added.  

Asked if the brand’s contribution towards the society helps its brand value in the long run, he said, “As a company we always take the long view. We believe that institutions and great brands are built by being operationally nimble, caring and having a long-term vision that aligns with national and societal concerns and aspirations.”

Resonating Kaul’s thoughts was Kiran Khalap, MD and Co-Founder, Chlorophyll Brand & communications Consultancy: “Globally, there is a trust deficit between citizens and State institutions. In India, the bank collapse has made the Common Man suspicious about the motives of the haves versus the have-nots. On the other hand, India is the youngest nation on Earth: 65% below 35, 50% below 25, and this particular generation values authenticity, transparency and purpose beyond profits.”

“Therefore, if you look at these two mega-trends and if the businesses truly put their money where their mouth is, they will gain durable goodwill from this young nation. They will become beacons of trust for the public in general and prospective stakeholders specifically (prospective employees, shareholders),” Khalap added.

Citing the example of Tata Sons, he said: “One of the reasons Tata enjoys so much trust is because of their nation-building activities since 1868. It is time to invest in the nation directly, not through banal communication and social media, but through real investment of time and money.”

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