7 Companies Who Support Workers in India Amid COVID-19

MUMBAI, India — Netflix, Zomato, Paytm PartnersZEESony PicturesVedanta Resources and the Mahindra Foundation provide either funds or meals to support daily wage workers in India negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. India’s prime minister Narendra Modi implemented the toughest lockdown in the world on March 25, which was later extended to May 17. By protecting daily wage workers in India, these seven companies help reduce the economic damage inflicted by the COVID-19 pandemic and benefit the economy in the long-run.

Defining Daily Wage Workers in India

Daily wage workers are entirely reliant on the wages they earn each day and are left with little to no savings during economic crises. These workers usually have limited to no access to unemployment benefits, paid leave or health benefits. India employs the largest informal sector globally, making up 90% of the total workforce and contributing more than 45% to India’s gross domestic product (GDP). Therefore, according to the director and vice-chancellor of the Indira Gandhi Institute of Developmental Research S. Mahendra Dev, daily wage workers are “the worst-hit” group in India amid the COVID-19 lockdown and are “at-risk” for severe poverty.

How the COVID-19 Lockdown Affected India’s Economy

The pandemic shock that left millions of daily wage workers in India unemployed has also negatively impacted its economy. Investment banking and financial services firm Goldman Sachs predicted that India’s economic growth for 2020 would decrease from 3.3% to 1.6%. While banking and investment firm Barclays forecasted that India’s economic growth would drop to 0.8%. India’s current financial situation is the worst slowdown India has faced since the 1970s, according to Goldman Sachs, driven by the nationwide lockdown and the “rising public anxiety” in regards to COVID-19.

How Companies’ Support Improve India’s Economy

Over the past 20 years, India’s growth rate has heavily depended on the services industry, which constitutes almost 32% of the total labor workforce, second to the agriculture and manufacturing industries. A vast majority of these service workers are daily wage earners. Furthermore, India’s infrastructure also consists of wage workers, the majority of whom are migrant laborers who build hospitals, apartments, hotels, and malls. By providing funds to these daily wage earners, these workers will be able to consume sustainable food, provide money for their families, pay for healthcare costs and afford shelter. All these actions have the potential to sustain India’s economy during this pandemic.

7 Companies That Are Supporting Daily Wage Workers in India

The following companies provide funds or meals to protect daily wage workers in India due to the COVID-19 lockdown, which prevents them from working.
  1. Netflix: On April 4, 2020, the international streaming platform stated that it would donate Rs 7.5 crore, or nearly $1 million, to the Producers Guild of India (PGI) Relief Fund to support daily wage workers in the Indian entertainment industry. The PGI is a leading “film, television, and digital content producers’ body” in Bollywood.
  2. Zomato: Zomato, a food delivery start-up, has established a fund named ‘Feeding India’ to help daily wage workers and their families, which has already received more than Rs 6 crore, or nearly $800,000.
  3. Paytm Partners: On April 7, 2020, Paytm Partners, India’s largest digital bank that intends to increase access to financial services for unserved and underserved Indians, partnered with KVN Foundation to provide 75,000 meals to daily wage workers and migrant workers per day across Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai and Noida. KVN Foundation is an initiative that aims to feed daily wage earners.
  4. ZEE: Zee Entertainment Enterprises (ZEE), a media and entertainment conglomerate and television broadcaster, pledged to provide “financial relief” to over 5,000 daily wage workers who work for the company, either directly or indirectly.
  5. Sony Pictures: Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN), a premier Indian entertainment subsidiary, committed Rs 10 crore, or more than $1.3 million, to benefit unemployed daily wage workers in the Indian media and entertainment industry.
  6. Vedanta Resources: Anil Agarwal, the metals and mining founder and chairman of Vedanta Resources Limited of a “globally diversified” natural resources company, set up Rs 100 crore, or over $13 million funds focused on assisting daily wage workers, healthcare organizations, and contract workers and employees.
  7. Mahindra Foundation: Anand Mahindra, the chairman of the Mahindra Group, a multinational conglomerate that invests in alternative energy solutions, created a fund involving 100% of his salary to aid the self-employed and chain small businesses, many of whom include daily wage workers.
After India’s prime minister enacted a hard lockdown in response to COVID-19, these seven companies publicly provided funds, or meals, to help daily wage workers in India sustain themselves. These companies have helped reduce the harm to the economy by supporting these workers who, while often overlooked, are an essential part of India’s economic growth.
Natasha Nath
Photo: Unsplash

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