As India faces an unprecedented challenge with the Covid-19 global pandemic affecting livelihood, a network of 92,000 NGOs, a record of sorts, has joined hands with the Government in delivering essential services such as cooked and raw foods besides creating awareness about social distancing to crores of vulnerable including homeless, migrants and poor people.
The Government constituted Empowered Committee-6 Chairman Amitabh Kant, CEO NITI Aayog said on Monday that NGOs like Akshaya Patra, Rama Krishna Mission, Tata Trusts, Piramal Foundation, Piramal Swasthya, Bill and Milinda Gates Foundation, Action Aid, International Red Cross Centre (ICRC), Pradhan, Prayas, Help-age India are among numerous NGOs doing a commendable job.
Ditto with SEWA, Sulabh International, Charities Aid Foundation of India, Gaudia Math, Bachpan Bachao Andolan, the Salvation Army, Catholic Bishops' Conference of India and many more NGOs like Mahaveer International and Uttarakhand Manav Seva Samiti.
For instance, Mahaveer International which has 212 centres across the States has been distributing ration kits which include food items like wheatflour, rice, oil and others as well as packed fresh cooked foods to the poorest of the poor at Yamuna Khadar, near DND Flyover and rainywell near Yamuna bridge, ITO since lockdown crisis. “While reaching out to the beneficiaries we ensure that they follow social distancing norms. We also distribute masks to them,” said V N Sharma, Chairman (Finance), Mahaveer International, Delhi.
These NGOs are engaged in assisting and supporting the local administration in setting up community kitchens particularly for migrants and homeless population working in urban areas.
For instance, Akshaya Patra Foundation, has served over two crore meals to vulnerable communities likemigrant population, daily-wage labourers, industrial workers and homeless people across India during the COVID-19 related lockdown.
Creating awareness about prevention, hygiene, social distancing, isolation, and combating stigma and supplementing the government efforts to provide shelter to homeless, daily wage workers, and urban poor families are some other areas where these NGOs are pitching in, said Kant.
“A primary area of concern in these times is the mass exodus of migrant labourers from urban hubs of work to their villages. NGOs are coordinating efforts and working closely with the district administrations and state governments so that measures of care, quarantine, and treatment go hand in hand.
“In the next phase, we plan to mobilise Civil Society Organisations/ NGOs for movement against Covid-19 stigmatisation and in protecting the elderly and senior citizens,” the official added.