The global threat from the COVID-19 pandemic continues to grow at an accelerating rate, which has impacted the entire world. India is facing an unprecedented challenge from the growing social and economic impact of the pandemic. As India grapples with the disruption due to COVID-19, it is the need of the hour to step up the support to the underprivileged who are the most adversely affected.
The spread of COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdown has not only resulted in an economic downturn, globally, but it has also impacted rural India, extensively. As per the latest study, approximately 88 per cent of the households have registered a fall in income and nearly six out of 10 people are facing unemployment, due to the current conditions. The lockdown has also taken a toll on the weekly earnings of farmers, which have nearly halved as they are unable to harvest or sell their produce. Despite 84 per cent of the population is covered under the public ration distribution system, the economic recession has forced many households into selling or mortgaging their property in order to borrow money, to buy food and other essential items.
Many of us have been impacted directly or indirectly because of this pandemic, there exist more vulnerable sections of society that are bearing the disproportionate brunt of these unavoidable measures. Amidst such unprecedented times, human resilience has been remarkable adapting to the new normal. In the face of the deep uncertainty, every responsible organisation needs to step up their efforts to fight the health crisis and support the government in the fight against COVID-19.
Now, more than ever, it is important to collaborate and work together to support local communities struggling due to the COVID-19 crisis. In line with the company’s continuous endeavour to ensure prosperous and sustainable communities, Srinivasan Services Trust (SST), the social arm of TVS Motor Company has been relentlessly working on ground to provide extensive support to local communities in villages across Tamil Nadu and Karnataka to ensure their safety and well-being.
The trust pledged Rs 25 crores to the PM’s Relief Fund (PM-CARES) and also donated Rs 5 crores to the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister’s Public Relief Fund. Further, SST made spends of Rs 30 crores and has been working with the local community to support the government in its sustained efforts to combat COVID-19. The team worked closely with the government of Karnataka by handing over 3,000 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and 10,000 N95 masks to Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa.
In these challenging times, the trust on a regular basis distributed face masks, face shields, disposable hand gloves, packed meals for essential care workers including police personnel, healthcare workers, village residents, and migrants in the villages across the states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Himachal Pradesh with assistance from local administration. The trust has distributed over 10.28 lakh face masks and 25,000 disposable hand gloves.
SST had deployed vehicles with disinfectants to sanitise common areas in villages to prevent the spread of the virus. For instance, the trust handed over ‘Disinfectant Spray Cannon’ vehicle to The Corporation of Chennai to aid in disinfecting localities and this drive has helped 4,199 villages in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh to be disinfected.
Keeping in mind the importance of nutritious food at such times, SST has employed factory kitchens at the manufacturing units in Hosur, Mysuru, and Padi to make and distribute over 13.29 Lakh packets of food. In addition, 7,725 dry ration kits were also distributed in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Himachal Pradesh.
In line with the philosophy of ensuring the health and prosperity of the local communities, TVS Motor Company dealerships undertook several active measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 within their vicinity. These extensive measures include monetary contributions towards Government Relief Funds, distribution of food packets and dry ration to migrant workers, and sanitisation of local communities. The dealers ae also extended support by providing free service of two-wheelers to the front-line resources from Police department.
Swaran Singh is a retired IAS officer who is currently serving as the chairman of Srinivasan Services Trust (SST), the social arm of the TVS Motor Company.