New Delhi: As India grapples with a ravaging COVID-19 crisis that has put an enormous pressure on its hospitals due to a shortage of beds, oxygen and medical supplies, US-headquartered tech giant Google on Monday announced Rs 135 crore ($18 million) to help the country during this devastating time. The donation is to provide cash assistance to families hit hardest by the crisis to help with their everyday expenses and to get urgent medical supplies, including oxygen and testing equipment.Also Read - COVID-19 Endemic Stage Two Years Away, Claims US Study | Details Here
“Today we’re announcing Rs 135 Crore ($18 million USD) in new funding for India. This includes two grants from Google.org, Google’s philanthropic arm, totalling Rs 20 Crore ($2.6 million USD). 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. Also Read - IT Raids Dolo-650 Manufacturer's Bengaluru Office
“It also includes donations from our ongoing employee giving campaign — so far more than 900 Googlers have contributed 3.7 Crore INR ($500,000 USD) for organizations supporting high-risk and marginalized communities,” wrote Gupta in a blogpost. Also Read - Google India Adds 5 New Languages to Its Training Network For Journalists | Check Details
Earlier in the day, Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai tweeted: “Devastated to see the worsening Covid crisis in India. Google & Googlers are providing Rs 135 Crore in funding to @GiveIndia,@UNICEF for medical supplies, orgs supporting high-risk communities, and grants to help spread critical information”.
The funding has been announced as India is going through most difficult moment in the pandemic thus far and daily COVID-19 cases continue are reaching record highs almost everyday, with hospitals filled to capacity and the country is in need of urgent supplies to cope with the increasing number of patients.
The Google funding also includes increased Ad Grant support for public health information campaigns. “We’re increasing our support today with an additional Rs 112 crore in Ad Grants to local health authorities and nonprofits for more language coverage options,” Gupta mentioned.
The 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.
“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.