ANI Technologies, which owns and operates online ride-hailing platform Ola, has launched a fund to support auto rickshaw, cab and black-and-yellow taxi drivers facing income loss due to the Covid-19 lockdown.
The initiative, termed as Drive the Driver Fund, will receive Rs 20 crore from the Ola Foundation, the social welfare arm of the Bengaluru-based company. Bhavish Aggarwal, co-founder and CEO of the company, will forgo a year’s salary to contribute to the fund, a statement said.
It will also raise funds from other investors and crowdfunding platforms, the statement added.
“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,” the company said.
Ola and its rival Uber have temporarily suspended services across the country.
“To support them (drivers) in this testing time, we are launching the fund, which will provide bare necessities to all driver partners, across auto rickshaws and kaali peelis (black-and-yellow taxis) in the form of essential supplies and free medical and emergency support. To this effect, the Ola group has come together to contribute the initial capital for the fund, which can be used to provide immediate aid,” an Ola spokesperson said.
This is the third employee-centric initiative announced by the company since the Covid-19 outbreak in the country.
Last week, Ola announced a Covid-19 insurance cover for its driver partners and their spouses. On Thursday, it waived off lease rentals for driver partners who lease vehicles from its subsidiary Ola Fleet Technologies.
Since the central government announced a lockdown on Tuesday, six more people have succumbed to the disease, taking the total tally of deaths to 17. At least 700 people have been infected by the virus in the country.