Google, Microsoft announce funding to help India tackle COVID-19

Google and Microsoft have recently pledged to help India fight COVID-19. Google is to provide 18 million USD (Rs 135 crores). Microsoft is to help India with relief efforts to buy oxygen concentration devices. The initiatives and the announcements about the funding were made by Sundar Pichai of Google and Satya Nadella of Microsoft.

About the plan

  • The relief amounts of Google in the form of grants are to go to non-profit organisations UNICEF and GiveIndia.
  • Through GiveIndia, Google is to provide cash assistance to families hit by the pandemic.
  • The grant being provided to UNICEF is to be used to make urgent medical supplies. This includes testing equipment and lifesaving oxygen equipment.
  • Also, more than 900 Google employees paid a total of Rs 3.7 crores.

Twitter and Facebook

While Sundar Pichai and Nadella were making the announcements, Jack Dorsey and Zuckerberg were silent. Jack Dorsey is the CEO of Twitter. Mark Zuckerberg is the CEO of Facebook. Lately, Dorsey and Zuckerberg have had strained relations with the Indian Government due to the censorship and privacy policies of the latter.

What is the issue between GoI and Twitter, Facebook?

In 2019, the Government of India ordered Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms to remove 3,433 URLs between January and October, 2019. The numbers have increased by five times since 2016. This was done under Section 69A of Information Technology Act.

Section 69A of IT act

It provides powers to block public access of any information through a computer resource. Persons failing to comply with the directions shall be punished with an imprisonment up to seven years.

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