From SBI, HUL to Tata Motors⁠— how some of India's top corporates are dealing with Coronavirus

India's biggest bank, truck maker, and consumer goods company announce measure to battle the Coronavirus pandemic in IndiaBCCL/BI India

  • State Bank of India (SBI) and other public sector banks are cutting down staff to 50%. Canara Bank has suspended passbook printing services.
  • India’s largest truck maker, Tata Motors, is scaling down operations at its Pune factory while promising full wages.
  • Hindustan Unilever (HUL), the country’s largest consumer goods company, has pledged ₹100 crore to fight the Coronavirus pandemic.
As the Coronavirus pandemic worsens in India, with 258 confirmed cases, some of the biggest organisations are shoring up for a fight. The State Bank of India (SBI), India’s largest public sector bank, has instructed all branches to cut its staff to half. Government-owned Canara Bank is also suspending passbook printing services starting today, March 21.

Tata Motors, the country’s biggest truck maker, is preparing to shut down its factory in Pune but will still give its daily workers full wages. Meanwhile, Hindustan Unilever ( HUL), the largest consumer goods company in India, has pledged ₹100 crore to fight Covid-19.

State Bank of India — India’s largest public sector bank
Public sectors banks can’t shut down, even amid fears of Coronavirus, because they provide an essential service. However, they are taking the necessary precautions to keep the infection from spreading.
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SBI branch in BhopalBCCL

“It must essentially ensure that regular banking operations, support functions like ATMs, CACs [Client Adviser Competency Standards], alternate channels, and digital services are not interrupted” said SBI in its notice to employees. Half the employees will be working from home, and the other half will have to report for duty — without any loss of pay. The two groups will switch every alternate day. These instructions come into effect today, March 21 and will be enforced up to April 4.

“Staff members who are not required to attend office on a particular day as per the roster drawn up, must ensure that they are available on telephone and mail at all times — and are available for duty in case of exigency,” said the circular. Some public sectors banks, like Canara Bank are implementing three day shifts instead.

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A new notice issued to Canara Bank today, March 21, has also asked branches to suspend all passbook printing services until futher notice to reduce the amount of contact between bankers and customers.

"This message may be displayed in prominent places of branch premise from informing the same," said the memo sent to employees, seen by Business Insider.

Tata Motors — India’s biggest truck maker
Tata Motors, which also owns brands like Jaguar and Land Rover in India, is scaling down its operations as a measure to tackle Coronavirus. One of its biggest factories is in the worst-hit state in India, Maharashtra, where over 50 cases of the infection have been reported so far.

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Tata said it will be ready to close down its Pune plant by Tuesday. In addition, most employees will still get their wages. Tata Son Chairman N Chandrasekaran announced that all temporary and daily wage workers would be covered from March and April, even if they are unable to come into work due to self-isolation or quarantine.

Tata Motors factory in PuneBCCL

HUL - India largest packaged consumer goods company
HUL has its fingers in a lot of pies, but none is more important than soaps and disinfectants right now. In a bid to help fight the covid-19 infection, the company announced that its slashing the prices on all personal cares and home hygiene brands by 15%. This includes Lifebouy hand-sanitizers and hand wash, as well as Domex floor cleaners.

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Lifebouy hand wash adHUL

It’s also ramping up production of these items so that there is enough supply in the market as customers rush to stores to stock up on supplies.

HUL also announced that it will donate 2 crore Lifebuoy soaps for free over the next few months “to the sections of society which need it the most”.

See also:
Coronavirus cases in India state wise: 258 infected, 23 cured and 4 dead

COVID-19: CII suggests direct cash transfer of ₹5,000 to 20 crore people

Coronavirus: Railways puts brake on 709 trains on Saturday


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