Vacant office buildings can be converted into temporary COVID care facilities: Govt to cos

New Delhi: Amid the worsening coronavirus situation in the country, the government on Thursday appealed to top corporates to consider converting their vacant office buildings into temporary COVID care facilities. Corporate Affairs Secretary Rajesh Verma has written to the heads of top 1,000 corporates in terms of market capitalisation.

While appreciating the support of corporate India in combating COVID, he said the second COVID surge requires more coordinated and focused approach so as to provide immediate relief to people.

The current COVID situation is worrisome, with active cases rapidly increasing and a large number of new cases being reported daily, he said.

He noted that in view of the ongoing work from home mode of working, companies might have some vacant office buildings at their disposal.

"You may like to consider converting these vacant office buildings to temporary COVID care facilities with either isolation beds or a combination of isolation and oxygen beds to cater to rapidly increasing COVID caseload in many parts of the country, some of which may lie in your vicinity," the letter said.

The corporate affairs ministry, which is implementing the companies law, has also clarified that spending by corporates towards setting COVID care facilities and makeshift hospitals will be considered as CSR activities.

Under the companies law, certain class of profitable entities have to shell out at least 2 per cent of their three-year annual average net profit towards Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities in a particular fiscal.

"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," Verma said. The letter has been addressed to Chairman/CMD/MD/CEO.

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