India, with a majority of its population living below the poverty line, is on the cusp of an explosion of coronavirus cases. To top that, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has already indicated that our country’s “response” and “preparedness” in the days to come will determine the “outcome of the pandemic”.
Michael J Ryan, Executive Director, WHO Health Emergencies Programme, noted, “It is exceptionally important that countries like India lead the way and show the world what can be done and do as they have done before and show that aggressive, sustained public health action from the community right through from the Head of State can have a profound effect on the trajectory and the outcome of this pandemic.”
Put simply, the economic and humanitarian cost of the COVID-19 pandemic would be impossible to imagine today and incredibly hard to bear in future.
So, as citizens, it is time to coe forward and make a difference. Several internet platforms and startups have enabled individual donations. Here’s how you can give.
Paytm and Lifebuoy
Paytm has been one of the quickest to adapt in times of crisis like floods, earthquakes, and now, a public health war against the novel coronavirus.
The fintech unicorn has partnered with leading FMCG brand Lifebuoy, and cricketer Yuvraj Singh’s foundation YouWeCan to launch the India Fights Corona campaign.
The Paytm app now has a dedicated icon for individual contributions on its homepage. Donations start from Rs 50 and can go up to any amount of your choice. The unicorn has committed to use the amount for producing sanitizers, handwash, and soap bars, especially for the underprivileged sections of society.
In an earlier statement, Siddharth Pandey, Vice President, Paytm said, “We should fight COVID-19 by staying healthy and restricting the spread of the virus to others. We request everyone to contribute towards this cause so that people who are part of our daily lives get access to such important products.”
PharmEasy and Razorpay
Payment gateway Razorpay has collaborated with medtech startup PharmEasy to allow citizen contributions towards health workers, who are at the frontline of the COVID-19 crisis.
You can donate N95 masks to doctors, nurses, and hospital staff. Select the number of masks you wish to donate on the PharmEasy app or the Razorpay homepage. For every mask you donate, PharmEasy shall pledge one more, thus doubling the collections.
“There will be an audit of every mask that has been donated, and will be handed over to hospitals in batches with a certificate,” Razorpay stated.
“Doctors, nurses, and hospital staff who are silently, relentlessly working round the clock on the frontline against the COVID-19 outbreak, risking their lives to safeguard ours. Their role during the crisis is pivotal and cannot be repaid for,” it added.
Zomato’s Feeding India
Foodtech unicorn Zomato, whose own delivery services have been riddled with uncertainties of late, has launched the ‘Feeding India’ initiative to offer food for families of daily wage earners, who are most affected by the COVID-19 lockdown.
The initiative has already collected Rs 9 crore of its targeted Rs 25 crore. You can visit the Feeding India donation page and choose to support one family (Rs 500), three families (Rs 1,500), five families (Rs 2,500) or more.
“Each meal kit (for a family of five) contains a combination of wheat flour, rice, and two types of pulses that can be used to cook meals for the family for a week.
Zomato announced that it has also partnered with Grofers and multiple NGOs on ground to help ensure “responsible distribution of these kits while adhering to social distancing guidelines”. “All proceeds will be used in procuring and distributing meal kits to families of daily wage earners across 26 cities,” it added.
Razorpay and SAFA Society
Fintech major Razorpay has partnered with Hyderabad-based NGO SAFA Society to donate COVID-19 Kits to daily wagers, migrant workers, street children, single parents, old widows, and street-dwellers, who have been worst hit by the lockdown.
These kits would include basic ration and hygiene supplies for those in dire need.
Distributions are being carried out in Hyderabad, Chennai, Bengaluru, and North Karnataka. The provision packages include wheat, rice, pulses, onion, oil, sugar, salt, spices, soaps, detergents, and basic medicines.
You can visit Razorpay’s COVID-19 Relief page for NEFT transfer and donation details.
Give India’s #IndiaFightsCoronavirus
Omidyar Network-backed giving platform Give India has launched the #IndiaFightsCoronavirus initiative for public contributions that will go to “vulnerable families” hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The fund seeks to collect Rs 10 crore to buy protection kits for affected families. Contributions start at Rs 500, and can be made through the #IndiaFightsCorona page.
Atul Satija, CEO of GiveIndia, observed, “We have launched this campaign as an emergency response to help provide a safety net to casual labour families. With this fund, we aim to directly support these families by providing a minimum wage in cash, hopefully with your support till the virus abates and they are in employment again.”
COVID-19 fundraisers on crowdfunding platforms
Crowdfunding platform Ketto.org has a dedicated page for COVID-19 fundraisers. It has already raised Rs 1.8 crore through multiple initiatives for daily wage earners, waste-pickers, and migrant labourers across Indian cities.
Former Team India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has contributed Rs 1 lakh through Ketto to Pune’s Mukul Madhav Foundation, a public charitable trust.
India’s largest crowdfunding platform Milaap.org is running a fundraiser for the transgender community. The goal is to raise Rs 10.5 lakh to provide food and hygiene supplies for “trans women, trans men and all other non-binary and socio-cultural identities”.
You can donate through Paytm or UPI app or make direct bank transfers.
Another homegrown giving platform Our Democracy is doing a fundraiser for the Delhi Youth Welfare Association. The initiative aims to raise Rs 20 lakh to collect food supplies for daily wage earners in Delhi.
Google Pay and Goonj/CMRF
While Google Pay hasn’t specifically opened coronavirus donations, you can donate for the cause through non-profit organisation Goonj’s RAHAT COVID-19 initiative to daily wagers who are out of jobs, and are returning to their villages.
“A lot of them are stuck in cities with hardly any resources, and Goonj is gearing up for the aftermath of this pandemic,” the NGO stated.
On Google Pay, you also have the option of contributing to the Chief Minister’s Relief Funds (CMRF) of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Bihar, Odisha, Assam, and Meghalaya.
Prime Minister’s Relief Fund
Several Indian celebrities from film stars to sportspersons have started making contributions to the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund, and are urging people to do the same.
The PMRF is the central government’s distress relief fund. Individual citizens, businesses, and organisations can contribute to make a difference. You can make your donations through the BHIM/UPI app or log in to the PMRF website.
Cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar has donated Rs 25 lakh to the PMRF on Friday.
All contributions are eligible for exemptions under Section 80(G) of the Income Tax Act.