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Turning vacant offices into Covid care facilities: Govt seeks cos’ support

As of April 25, the total tally of Covid-19 cases in India crossed the 17 million mark, while active cases went past the 2.5 million mark.

By: ENS Economic Bureau | New Delhi |
April 27, 2021 3:01:01 am
Gujarat University convention and exhibition centre in Ahmedabad has been turned into a Covid facility. The MCA has urged companies to explore turning vacant office spaces into temporary Covid facilities. (Express photo by Nirmal Harindran)

As the number of Covid-19 patients continue rising across the country, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) has urged companies to look into the possibility of converting their vacant office spaces into temporary Covid care facilities with either isolation beds or a combination of isolation and oxygen beds. In a notice on its website, the MCA said that in view of the work from home mode adopted by most of their peers, companies should look into setting up such temporary facilities to cater to the rapidly rising Covid-19 caseload in the country.

“I would like to appeal to your company to come forward and supplement government efforts in fulfilling the rising hospitalisation needs in view of the second Covid surge. Your prompt and targeted efforts will certainly help in providing the much needed relief to the citizens during this difficult time,” MCA Secretary Rajesh Verma said in a post.

As of April 25, the total tally of Covid-19 cases in India crossed the 17 million mark, while active cases went past the 2.5 million mark. Most major states and cities across India, including New Delhi, are facing acute shortages of intensive care unit beds, medical oxygen, vital medicines needed for treatment of Covid-19, ventilators, and other necessary infrastructure.

The MCA had, through an earlier notification on April 22, said that the funds companies and startups use to set up Covid care facilities such as makeshift hospitals would be eligible for consideration as corporate social responsibility (CSR) activity. This was in addition to notifications issued by the MCA last year in March and August, where it had said that spending of funds to tackle the Covid pandemic and in development of vaccine, drugs or medical devices for Covid-19 would be considered as an eligible CSR activity.

Companies with a minimum net worth of Rs 500 crore, turnover of Rs 1,000 crore, or net profit of Rs 5 crore are required to spend at least 2 per cent of their average profit for previous three years on CSR activities every year.

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