India can become the next supply chain manufacturing hub, provides it acts right now, predicted David Ranz, the US Counsel at the American Embassy in Mumbai. Ranz was speaking to an assorted online audience at the IACC COVID Crusaders Awards 2020 on Sep 25, Friday.
The awards ceremony aimed to acknowledge the humanitarian efforts made by the individuals, corporates and organisations, in a bid to provide relief and assistance globally, against the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Anand Desai, Program Chair for the Awards Committee, said, “It was really a joy to see the nominations this year and the initiative to move with the times, away from the corporate excellence awards we’ve had for the last 15 years. To do something timely and recognise outstanding achievements, at a time when there is so much uncertainty and difficulty that people are facing.”
The IACC COVID Crusaders Awards 2020 honoured Indian and American individuals, corporates, NGOs, MSMEs and others, who had devoted themselves to serving humanity at this stage. These included honours for exemplary work by individuals, foundations, NGOs, MSMEs, startups and bureaucrats.
Kader Shaikh, a Gujarat-based businessman, was acknowledged for converting his 30,000 sq feet office into an 85-bed COVID care facility. On the other end, celebrity Chef Vikas Khanna received the honour for the Feed India campaign, which has delivered over 40 million meals so far. The chosen Crusaders included bureaucrats who had done much as well – Iqbal Singh Chahal, Municipal Commissioner, BMC and Sylvester Turner, Mayor of Houston.
The list of awardees included NGOs Akshaya Patra, Goonj and Heifer International, companies like Godrej, Mahindra & Mahindra and Wallis Bank and MSMEs MyLab Discovery Solutions, Perennials and Sutherland LLC and Sevatec Inc.
Hon’ble Shri Bhagat Singh Koshyari, Governor of Maharashtra, He served as the chief guest at the event, said, “I congratulate all the awardees. The pandemic, which has seen frontline warriors rise to the occasion to save lives, has also inspired all of us to step forward and do our bit for humanity. With their actions, these awardees from India and America, have become examples of purpose and philanthropy too.
“I hope that IACC will take the lead in opening the philanthropic corridor between India and US to foster better bilateral relations between our two countries,” Koshyari added.
Talking about the global changes in these times, Ranz had acknowledged how India moved swiftly in its need of the hour.
David Ranz, the US Counsel at the American Embassy in Mumbai, said, “The business community rallied in ways which we couldn’t imagine in the first few weeks of the lockdown. American and Indian companies went through great lengths to ensure their employees were safe and had computers and other tools they needed to keep vital businesses like financial networks up and running.
“India has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to evolve into a supply chain manufacturing hub for the world, especially as foreign investment is leaving China and looking for a new home,” Ranz said.
Naushad Panjwani, Regional President of IACC, West India Council, said, “We’ve seen people selling off their personal belongings to help others. We’ve seen people go out of the way, burn the midnight oil and pulling acts of philanthropy from hundreds of miles away. When the chain of the virus had to be broken, the chain of solidarity and humanity became stronger.”
The IACC put together a jury with eminent persons like Anand Desai, Dinesh Agarwal, Dr Lalit Bhasin, Dr Lalit Kanodia, Harish Mehta, Nanik Rupani, Poorvi Chotani, Pranay Vakil, Shailesh Haribhakti and Suresh Kotak.