Coronavirus has been spreading rapidly for the past two months, adversely affecting hundreds of countries and claiming thousands of lives the world over. More than 34,000 people have died so far and over 7,00,000 infected cases have been confirmed in 199 countries.
Several nations have been working towards fighting the global pandemic. Many companies across the textile supply chain from across the globe are announcing support measures, like cash donations to the governments, distributing masks, etc.
Similarly, the Central and various State Governments in India are also on their toes to overcome this challenge, also motivating companies to come forward and lend their support in this difficult phase. The Indian Government has also issued a notification stating that CSR funds may be spent for various activities related to COVID-19 relating to the promotion of healthcare, including preventive health care and sanitation. Whether big or small, these initiatives are worth appreciating, in view of the lockdown currently faced by the country, owing to which the overall trades have been suffering negatively in a huge way.
The Indian textile giant Vardhman Group has donated Rs. 2 crore so far. S Pal, Director of the company (MP location), handed over a cheque of Rs. 1 crore to the Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Relief Fund to help the Government fight the battle. The Group also contributed Rs. 1 crore to the Punjab Government (Rs. 50 lakh to CM COVID-19 fund and Rs. 50 lakh towards medical supplies for Government hospitals).
Welspun is humbly supporting the Indian Army by donating linen to set up isolation wards, and has also promised all support going forward to defeat COVID-19.
The Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) directed its corporate social responsibility (CSR) fund of Rs. 40 lakhs towards fighting the pandemic. “The Council has deposited Rs. 40 lakh of our CSR funds in the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund in order to strengthen the country in its fight against the global pandemic which is both a health and an economic emergency,” said Dr. A Sakthivel, Chairman, AEPC. He also appealed to the apparel exporting community to come forward and contribute towards the war against the virus.
Garment Exporters Association of Rajasthan (GEAR) has taken an initiative to collect funds to support the needy labour stuck in different industrial areas of Jaipur. It has requested its members to contribute funds in this regard. Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI) has also taken the lead to set up a COVID-19 Support Fund (CSF by FDCI) to provide financial assistance to small businesses and young designers in need.
Apart from helping the Government, some of the companies are also offering food to the community and its workers living in hostels or nearby the factories.
Pratibha Syntex Ltd, Indore is distributing cooked food to 500 people daily.
The meal is being prepared by 50 employees of the company, who wished to contribute to the noble cause. Hand gloves, masks and headgears are made mandatory for all employees, while cooking the food. The area was also fumigated a day before to ensure cleanliness.
The company has also distributed around 15000 masks in slum areas of Pithampur with the help of local administration.
Panipat-based well-known home furnishing manufacturer, Raj Group is also actively working in this regard. Its team created food packets to distribute to many workers employed by the Group.
“Even though the workers are being given their salaries, the need of the hour is basic food supplies that are either in shortage or overpriced. At this point, food is the only symbol of compassion, and we are also trying our best that these food packets reach anyone who is in need,” said Sumeet Nath, Managing Partner of the company.
A similar kind of initiative has been taken by the Coimbatore-based Sri Kannapiran Mills Limited (KG Fabriks). Srihari Balakrishnan, President of the company, informed, “We have more than 4000 associates (workers) in Kannapiran Mills and over 2000 associates lodged in our campuses have been provided with all amenities. We have not made them jobless as a lot of companies and corporates are practising across the globe.”
The company also checks the workers’ temperatures every day, and arranges for yoga, breathing and well-being classes for them to learn maintaining safe social distance or through e-learning. As per the Government instructions, no one is allowed to venture out and stopped machines are being used to understand their work environment better. As a company policy, 100 per cent of its associates are insured and for most of its senior staff, the whole family is insured. The company has long term tie-ups with 9 hospitals and/clinics across all locations and runs its own 20-bedded facility at Thenthirumalai.
Various Indian retailers are also not behind in this noble cause, and are contributing in their own ways. Having lifestyle retail arm, Wills Lifestyle, ITC Ltd. is also setting up a contingency fund of Rs. 150 crore to address and manage the challenges arising out of this adversity.
Shoppers Stop has started donating all the profits generated from online orders to the COVID-19 relief fund. “While we are accepting prepaid orders on shoppersstop.com, we might run slightly late on delivery. Go ahead, place your orders while at home, to help the affected and help us make a difference,” the company said.