Ride-hailing major Uber on Thursday said it will provide grants totalling Rs 25 crore to its driver-partners in India to support them amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

The US-based company is also looking at raising an additional Rs 25 crore through employee and third-party contributions.

Uber India and South Asia President Pradeep Parameswaran said thousands of driver-partners have started receiving the grants under 'Uber Care Driver Fund' (created in partnership with giving India and Samhita) by direct transfer into their accounts to look after their urgent and essential family needs.

He, however, did not comment on the number of driver-partners that will benefit from this grant and the amount being disbursed to each person.

"Supporting driver communities has never been more important. We hope this first financial relief package for driver-partners helps them and their families cover their immediate and urgent daily needs. We expect the Rs 25 crore grant to be deployed in the next one week," he said.

With the implementation of the lockdown across the country, the government has allowed only people in essential services like healthcare, banking and media to commute. Restricted mobility has left driver-partners of cab services like Ola and Uber with no source of income.

UberMedic, UberEssential and Uber's delivery service driver-partners are also eligible for grants. These services have been started recently for transporting frontline workers, providing essential rides to the elderly and moving everyday supplies across India amid the nationwide lockdown.
Parameswaran said, Uber aims to raise an additional Rs 25 crore through employee and third-party contributions.

"We aim to raise an additional Rs 25 crore to reach a combined target of Rs 50 crore via contributions from employees, riders, CSR funds and citizens through a partnership with Milaap," he said.

Over the next few days, Uber is also rolling out a Hospital Cash Insurance policy that will benefit driver-partners, and cover COVID-19 and other illnesses which require hospitalization, for up to 14 days.

Both Uber and Ola have taken a number of steps to support their driver-partners.

Ola Group on Thursday said it has pledged a sum of Rs 5 crore to the PM CARES Fund and Rs 3 crore towards the Chief Minister's Relief Funds of various states.

It has also been offering interest-free credit of up to Rs 3,600 to driver-partners to help them meet immediate household expenses amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Ola Foundation, the social welfare arm of the company, had recently launched the ‘Drive the Driver Fund'.

The Ola Group and its employees have already contributed Rs 20 crore towards this cause, while Ola co-founder and CEO Bhavish Aggarwal has forgone one-year's salary towards the fund. PTI SR

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