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Indian start-up and tech giants, stand up to fight India’s second Covid-19 wave

Nasscom's appeal to technology to fight Covid-19

Indian startups, following the lead of global tech-giants, have stood to fight India's second Covid wave. 

Among the early risers, the Indian fintech firm Paytm launched its Oxygen For India initiative, airlifting 21,000 oxygen concentrators (OCs). These devices have been immediately sent to government hospitals, Covid care facilities, private hospitals, nursing homes and resident welfare associations.

Paytm added that it had already raised Rs 5 crore from citizens and has donated the same amount, making the total fundraised to Rs 10 crore. It further aims to raise Rs.14 crore, reports the website techherald.in.

In tune with Paytm's initiative, the  consumer tech startup of India boAt has joined hands with SaveLife Foundation and donated Rs 50 lakh to obtain oxygen concentrators and essential medical supplies. These will be supplied to hospitals to boost their life-saving capacity and help save the lives of Covid-19 infected patients.

Aman Gupta, boat, co-founder talking about Covid-19 in India was quoted as saying: “The COVID-19 pandemic has reached catastrophic proportions in India, more so in NCR. As an Indian brand, we recognise the challenges our people are facing today and we truly hope that our small contribution will support healthcare and frontline workers as they race against time to save lives and contain the spread of this virus.”

Going beyond the material and money, many startups have provided essential technical backup to deal with the pandemic and also help in data collection, which is vital in the campaign against Covid-19, says the techherald.in report.

The India-based AI conversation platform Yellow Messenger has initiated efforts to help organisations fight COVID-19 by offering them pro bono Omnichannel chatbots. The startup said that it will provide access to an omnichannel chatbot on any text platform for Covid-19 related use cases.

This could help in real-time services like providing medical information related to plasma donation, oxygen/hospital bed availability, vaccine registrations, scheduling appointments, collecting patient data, mental health assistance, handling insurance queries and more.

As there will be no prerequisites or conditions attached, any NGO, hospital, support group or business can get Yellow Messenger built AI chatbot to drive crisis efforts. Raghu Ravinutala, CEO and Co-Founder averred.  “All you need to do is, let us know how you are contributing and the kind of chatbot services you need and we’ll help you launch a chatbot to reach out and support the masses.”

Similarly, India based SaaS company DronaHQ is extending technology support to combat the pandemic. The low code platform has pledged to allocate $50,000 worth of support in order to facilitate the development of COVID-19 relief related applications development.

In his tweet, Jinen Dedhia, its Co-Founder and MD said: “If you are building anything digital related to assist the fight against Covid-19 in this current situation in India – then we are making DronaHQ available at zero cost!”

Individuals, groups working in building solutions and tools for supply and tracking of oxygen cylinders, medicines and hospital beds along with organisations that need to quickly add COVID-19 relief support portals in their apps can take DronaHQ’s technology-led support to speed up the process and take their apps live.

Dedhia added: “It is in times like these we all must join forces, and be of aid to those in need. If you have an idea that tech can support, reach out to us. If you are a team working on coronavirus pandemic relief solutions, email us to gain access to our platform and build your solution at speed.”

Indian startups appear to be following the footsteps of global tech giants. While Google announced $18 million new funding to support India, this also includes two grants from Google’s philanthropic arm Google.org worth $2.6 million. Indian NGO GiveIndia will receive the first grant to provide cash help to families hit hardest by the crisis, the other will go to UNICEF to send medical supplies, including oxygen and testing equipment to India. “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 critical information,” Google CEO Sundar Pichai tweeted.

“I am heartbroken by the current situation in India. I’m grateful the US government is mobilizing to help. Microsoft will continue to use its voice, resources, and technology to aid relief effort and support the purchase of critical oxygen concentration devices,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella tweeted this week.