As the nation battles an intensifying second wave of COVID-19 infections, numerous hospitals and care centers have been pushed to the edge due to an acute shortage of beds and medical oxygen, hindering people from procuring medi care facilities. Amid the spike in COVID-19 cases, India’s oxygen producers too are currently struggling to keep up with the demand for medical oxygen. The mobilization of aid is now a need of the hour to assist the nation beat this pandemic.

Acknowledging the situation, Soumitra Bhattacharya, Managing Director, Bosch Limited & President, Bosch Group in India, said: “These are unprecedented times, and every section of the society must show solidarity, empathy, possess the right knowledge, and support one another in exercising safety. Bosch India remains committed to helping the government fight the social disruptions caused by the second wave of the pandemic in a reliable and stable manner. We abide by our core values of ensuring the welfare of its employees, society, and the country at large by addressing the local requirements, and effectively extending its COVID-19 protection measures to the nation.”

Financial support

Last year, Bosch group companies in India had pledged INR 50 crores toward implementing various COVID-combating community welfare initiatives. The initiatives were conceptualized and implemented in 2021 to address the pressing needs of the society in healthcare support, livelihood creation, and distribution of essential supplies for the needy. With the unprecedented rise of infections, we are committed to extend further support.

Employee welfare

As part of its COVID response, Bosch’s medical and HSE teams have been tirelessly working to ensure its employees get the medical attention and hospital beds as and when required in cities where supply has been affected. Bosch has also partnered with MediBuddy for enhanced medical support and guidance for vaccination of its staff.

In these tough times, Bosch continues to be committed towards welfare of its associates and their families. In case of an unforeseen event like employee fatality, Bosch offers insurance cover with average insured amount of INR 70 lakhs which will be handed over to the legal heirs of deceased employee. This is in addition to the existing INR 7 lakhs employee deposit linked insurance scheme. Bosch is one-of-the-first company to have availed end-to-end insurance cover for COVID-19 treatment with a special coverage designed for their Blue-Collar associates. As part of immense care and concern, Bosch continues to extend medical insurance coverage for dependents of deceased employees due to COVID-19, for a period of 3 years from the date of demise.

“We have now come to terms with the reality of a prolonged work from home ecosystem, which can be very challenging due to the constraints under which we operate. Our people are our most valuable assets and upholding their mental and physical health is our top priority right now and are working tirelessly to extend vaccination to all dependent family members of our staff, free of cost. As a corporate entity, we will continue to act responsibility by following government guidelines, wearing masks, practicing social distancing, and making conscious efforts to ensure employee motivation and well-being,” added Bhattacharya.

With the health and safety of its associates at the center, Bosch has internally implemented flexi-work policies, easy PF withdrawal and cash flow support, and interest-free emergency loans to cover COVID-19 medical expenses of all Boschlers and their families (beyond those already insured). The company has collaborated with Ginger / Ram4seasons for quarantine facilities while partnering with numerous healthcare establishments to provide hospitalization support. Bosch has additionally partnered with 1to1Help to support and uphold mental well-being for its employees amid these testing times.

Oxygen supply and healthcare support

To bridge this gap, Bosch has dedicated structures in its Bengaluru and Pune campuses converted into Covid Care Centers (CCC). The company will also invest in an in-house oxygen generation unit. These captive units will serve a dual purpose, to support business continuity and serve society by aiding healthcare infrastructure.

Bosch has also upgraded 10 Primary Healthcare Centers (PHCs) around its plants in Jaipur, Bengaluru, Chennai, and Gangaikondan to conduct tests and vaccination drives for the public while providing functional support to government-assigned hospitals to treat COVID-19 patients. As part of this engagement, Bosch has taken up the vital and urgent task of repairing and refurbishing faulty ventilators in government-assigned hospitals free of charge. Till date, more than 45 ventilators have been fixed and made functional in hospitals.

In line with Bosch’s commitment to work towards the benefit of the society at large, the company has designed, manufactured, and supplied over 40 lakh medical grade protective face masks. Even today, two-third of these are being distributed free of cost to Hospitals, Covid Warriors, ASHA and Anaganwadi workers and other needy people in the society. Bosch has also partnered with Apollo MedSkills to train over 1000 paramedics through a three-month skilling program with training offered in two domains, General Duty Assistant and Pharmacy Assistant with joint certification with Bosch and NSDC to fulfill the rural/urban healthcare needs.

Support for migrant laborers

Adhering to livelihood creation, Bosch launched an initiative to help more than 12,000 migrant workers across India who had lost their jobs amid the pandemic be re-employed through on-ground “Rozgar Sahayata” (Employment Assistance). Booths, leveraging local networks including prospective employers, Government agencies, NGOs, Self-Help Groups (SHGs), referrals from placed candidates, digital job fairs using technology, enabled and supported this initiative. Meals cooked in Bosch factory kitchens across locations and ration packets from Bosch plants continue to be systematically distributed among migrant workers, daily wage laborers, and other needy individuals across India. Till date, Bosch has supported around 1,500 needy families by supplying ration packets during the nationwide lockdown.

Despite the challenges presented by the pandemic, Bosch continues to work closely with government and industry bodies to support the COVID relief efforts and committed to establish safety and security for our employees and the society at large. “The war against COVID-19 is far from over, Bosch remains committed and continue in its endeavor to help the nation to fight against the pandemic. With combined efforts from the government and corporate entities, we will overcome this medical crisis together and emerge stronger,” concluded Bhattacharya.