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The role of the NGOs or not-for-profit organisations cannot be highlighted more in pandemics.
Such entities come to the forefront, as they coordinate with various federal governments as well as the centre to ensure humanitarian aid reaches the last mile. In an exclusive interaction with ETCFO, Rohit Nayyar, Chief Finance Officer, at CARE India, an NGO focusing on alleviating poverty and social exclusion, shared how the company would go about procuring masks, sanitizers, and other essential goods for various states, including Rajasthan, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, and Maharashtra.
He also spoke about the operational challenges that the company is facing on account of the lockdown.
Today marks the 13th day of the 21-day long nationwide shutdown which continues till April 14. India has recorded more than 4,000 cases of Coronavirus as of April 6, 2020. The NGO manages projects worth Rs 1,000 crore.
Q: What has been the key impact of the lockdown on your business/operations?
Rohit Nayyar: Our on-going field programmes have been badly impacted due to the lockdown/curfew situations across the states. The committed project milestones have gone astray impacting our annual targets. However, we had proactively reached out to our donors and shared the ground realities in a transparent manner which was greatly appreciated.
Q: How are you collaborating with states to ensure supplies of essential goods like masks, sanitizers?
Rohit Nayyar: CARE India, as a humanitarian agency, has stepped up efforts to tackle the challenges posed by the Covid-19 situation and the consequent socio-economic impact on the weaker sections of society.
We have an extensive experience of “Response” to large scale humanitarian emergencies by mobilizing technical expertise coupled with implementation capability on ground, e.g., Tsunami, Odisha Cyclone, Kerala floods, etc. The poor and marginalised are getting hugely impacted with the consequences and we all need to act in the most coordinated and collaborative way to quickly strengthen the response initiatives from central and various state governments. We are thankful to the various state governments for clearing our supplies movement. However, more coordinated efforts from stakeholders are needed to ensure availability of essential materials and seamless logistics.
Further, we have enhanced communication amongst our teams providing team members with the information and perspective they need. The various digitization/automation initiatives implemented are enabling financial support to our staff, facilitating project execution and compliance requirements.
Q: Has CARE India mobilised any funds for fighting Covid-19? If yes, where specifically you intend to use them?
Rohit Nayyar: CARE India Board has earmarked Rs 50 Lakhs of our own funds to kickstart response initiatives. We are getting extensive support from our corporate, institutional and individual donors to execute our three -pronged risk response strategy encompassing “Immediate phase, Recovery and Resilience building”
Our 1400+ team is working with the Government of Bihar in supporting the government in contact tracing, monitoring, infection control, laboratory and hospital strengthening for fighting COVID-19.
We had procured and supplied 20,000 N-95 masks to the Government of Bihar, and continue to procure thousands of N-95 and three ply mask for Gwalior health services, thousands of PPE for Anganwadi workers in the severely impacted Bhilwara town in Rajasthan, masks and sanitizers across Tamil Nadu. We are also providing 75,000 meals for migrant labourers in partnership with Lucknow Medical Corporation, and dry ration kits for Delhi NCR. Several other immediate and recovery initiatives are getting operationalized.
Q: What should FM Nirmala Sitharaman further do?
Rohit Nayyar: Uncertainty and value complexity cause us to dither, delay and defer, when we need to act. It is not enough to stare up the steps, we must step up the stairs.
We should trust FM will also take prudent actions with a holistic view of the economy. FM has already announced several measures including Rs 1.7 lakh crore worth stimulus for the poor… we are all earnestly waiting for more!