India Inc. reaches out to tsunami victims
Wednesday, 29 December 2004, 08:00 Hrs
MUMBAI: India Inc. is joining the massive relief and rehabilitation effort for the tsunami victims with financial and organisational support. While many companies and industry lobby groups have already extended a helping hand to those hit by the monstrous waves, many more are contemplating ways to reach out to the hundreds of thousands of helpless people. Reliance Industries vice chairman Anil Ambani was one of the first corporate leaders to announce a personal contribution of 10 million for the tsunami victims Monday. Help began to pour in after that with companies - representing a wide spectrum of industrial sectors such as IT, automobile, and finance - loosening their purse strings. "We believe it is the duty of every corporate citizen to address the people's most basic requirements immediately in a disaster situation such as this," said Nandan Nilekani, CEO and managing director of Infosys Technologies. Infosys Technologies, India's second largest software maker, has announced a contribution of 50 million to the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund to help the tsunami victims. In its effort to reach out to the people rendered homeless, the company is also actively supporting its employees' efforts across group companies globally to make monetary and material contributions towards aid operations. "Through these contributions, we hope to provide flexible resources to meet emergency needs such as food, water, clothing, shelter material and other supplies to aid the survivors," he said. "We also have a lot of employees who have expressed their eagerness to support relief efforts. Our teams are visiting and offering aid to people in affected areas." Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), India's largest software company, says many of its employees have expressed their willingness to help in providing disaster relief in the tsunami-affected places in the country. TCS, an arm of one of India's largest business house Tata Group, has also started collecting clothes, medicine, and essential items. The company is also trying to identify volunteer groups with which TCS can associate itself. "There is an urgent need to attend to the physical and emotional needs of people and to get them back to normal life. This is not the work of a day but of weeks, months and years," said a TCS official. Carmaker Maruti Udyog has announced a contribution of 10 million to the prime minister's fund. In addition, the company's employees have pledged one day's salary to help the victims of the tragedy. "All sections of society, notably the corporate sector, have to now join the government's efforts to provide relief and rehabilitation," said Maruti Udyog Ltd. managing director Jagdish Khattar. Institution of Engineers (India), the apex body of engineers in the country, has extended full technical support for the rehabilitation of tsunami victims. The organisation, which claims to have more than 500,000 engineers as its members, has offered different kinds of engineering inputs for effective relief and rehabilitation. The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) has contributed 35 million, while Coca-Cola India has decided to supply packaged drinking water in the affected places. The Indian Merchants Chamber (IMC) has decided to contribute 200,000 to the prime minister's fund and set up a separate relief fund for directly providing aid to the victims. A host of public and private sector banks such as State Bank of India and Bank of India have made financial contributions and relaxed norms for loan approvals.