Ride-hailing major Ola on Friday launched a fund to support auto-rickshaw, cab, Kaali-Peeli and taxi drivers across India amid the ongoing 21-day lockdown.

Besides, Ola co-founder Bhavish Aggarwal will forgo salary for one year that will go towards the fund.

Launched under Ola Foundation, the 'Drive the Driver Fund' will support the drivers through contributions from the Ola group, investors and via a crowdfunding platform for citizens and other institutions, a statement said.

"The proceeds of the fund will help towards the welfare and upliftment of drivers and their families who have been affected by the restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic," it added.

Ola Group and employees are contributing an initial capital of Rs 20 crore to the fund and through the crowdfunding campaign, the intent is to raise up to Rs 50 crore.

"The mobility industry has been brought to a grinding standstill during these stressed times, and the driver community has been finding it hard to pay for their family expenses without a source of income," the statement said.

Ola's initiative aims to bring together multiple stakeholders in the ecosystem such as customers, investors and partner organisations to participate in supporting millions of drivers and their families across India, it added.

This initiative will focus on key areas such as emergency support and essential supplies. In due course, Ola Foundation will also take up initiatives to support drivers in areas such as aid for children's education, among others.

"Millions of drivers and their families have been affected, and even a humble contribution can have a lasting impact on their wellbeing. We invite all the stakeholders of the mobility industry to join us in every way you can, and support the people who move us in this difficult phase," an Ola spokesperson said.

Ola has undertaken a number of measures, including launching a special COVID-19 insurance cover exclusive for their driver partners and their spouses.

These steps are aimed at helping driver-partners and customers through the coronavirus outbreak.

The number of positive coronavirus case in India has touched 724 till date. PTI SR

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