Ggm: CSR funds come to rescue as govt agencies reel under losses

Gurugram: With almost all government agencies in Gurugram facing an acute shortage of funds, donations and monetary assistance from Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funds have come as rescue, especially in times of the pandemic, when expenditure on healthcare and disaster management infrastructure has been key to the fight against COVID-19.

What started off with the distribution of food items to the needy and migrant labourers has now extended to providing face masks, sanitisers, PPE kits, medical experts, civil defense volunteers and even ventilators.

This, in addition to the large scale of monetary help already being provided to the Gurugram District Administration. According to sources in the Government department, financial help of more than Rs 90 crore has already been provided in the form of CSR funds since the outbreak in March.

And the role of corporate funding under CSR is only expected to increase further in the coming as COVID-19 has further drained the resources of the Government agencies. All the major Government agencies in Gurugram that include the Haryana Shahari Vikas Pradhikaran (HSVP), Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG) and Gurugram Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA) prior to even COVID-19 wererunning under losses. COVID-19 has further extended the losses for these public agencies.

In fact, to cut costs, all major Gurugram public authorities now are putting all recruitment processes on hold. Major state agencies like Municipal Corporation of Gurugram have publicly stated that there will be no new recruitment for one year.

With a large number of major corporates located in Gurugram, many of these companies have come forward and helped government agencies in development works of Gurugram. Major initiatives under which corporates here have participated include improving the groundwater levels in Gurugram under Gurujal, setting up city forests, improving government schools and hospitals and even building roads.

The greater need for corporate funds, however, has been felt by government agencies to deal with various challenges that have emerged out of COVID-19. In addition to the monetary help, most corporations are funding a large number of volunteers who are coming and helping government departments here.

One positive effect of this has been the increase in the number of operators manning the government helpline number (1950) in Gurugram. What started off with only four operators initially, today has more than 50 operators. This increase has resulted in the helpline number functioning 24 hours a day and being able to respond to 1.7 lakh calls relating to COVID-19 queries.

Acknowledging the help from corporates under the CSR, not only the Gurugram Deputy Commissioner Amit Khatri but even Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar has lauded their contribution publicly.

"The role of private citizens and corporates of Gurugram in the fight against COVID-19 has been exemplary. It has been mainly because of their help that we have been able to deal with various challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. All of us are grateful for their assistance," Khatri said.

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