Mr. Gautam Adani, Chairman, Adani Group, AGM 2021 Address. Much as I would have liked to have welcomed you all in person, the current safety measures appear to have made these virtual meetings the new normal. However, I am optimistic that our AGM of 2022 will be an in-person meeting – and I will have the opportunity to actually shake some of your hands.
Today, I wish to share with all of you some reflections on the past twelve months – a period that has been extraordinarily difficult because of a rampaging pandemic that will leave its mark on the world for several decades to come. The statistics – sadly – are staggering. With close to 19 crore cases reported worldwide, the COVID-19 pandemic is already the most widespread threat to global health in recorded history. It is also one of the deadliest. In its lethal march across the earth, the virus has already killed over 40 lakh people. No continent, no country and no community has been spared.
We must admit that every life lost is a tragedy. Undoubtedly, our country should have done much better, especially during the deadly Wave Two. However, as the nations of the world marshal their resources to fight the pandemic, I see India being targeted by several critics for not doing more to protect its citizens, especially in vaccination.
We must recognize that, given the sheer size of our population and densely packed metros – the challenge before India is far greater compared to most other nations. To put this perspective in numbers – India has more people than the combined population of all the countries on three continents – Europe, North America, and Oceania. In other words, our vaccination effort has to be bigger than the combined efforts of 87 countries.
The fact is that, of the 320 crore vaccine doses given worldwide, 35 crore doses were given in India. While I admit that criticism is justifiable, we must not fall prey to voices that demoralize our nation or break the morale of frontline workers who have made extraordinary sacrifices.
And it is these frontline workers that have been our inspiration.
Assisting the nation during a crisis is not about quantifying in numbers what corporates like us do. Instead, it is about stepping up to make sure we do our part, it is about extending a hand to help every individual we can reach, and it is about putting the nation
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first in everything we do. And no one has inspired us more or reminded us better about our duty to serve the nation than the front line workers – who – all through the pain of the pandemic, exemplified the noble Indian ideal of Seva Parmo Dharma – which translated means ’The primary duty is to provide service to mankind’
Yes, the Adani Group reached out all across the world to find critical essentials like liquid medical oxygen, cryogenic tanks and oxygen cylinders – but our contribution stands humbled by the immensity of the effort put in by our women and men of the Indian Air Force, who flew countless missions day and night to places near and far to help us bring in the essential supplies.
Yes, we boosted the PM Cares Fund with our contributions, but money can never match the individual selflessness of the people on the street who rose above their own needs to help fellow Indians they never knew and will never meet again.
Yes, we provided logistical support all over the nation – by air, by sea, by rail and by road – and moved thousands of tonnes of desperately-needed supplies but that is nothing when compared to the immeasurably noble work of our doctors and nurses as they put their lives on the line to serve their fellow citizens.
The individual stories of humanity have been moving – the sacrifices we have witnessed have been humbling – and through all of this, we have done our best to support oxygen distribution and in-patient care as the people from our Adani Foundation brought together resources and experts to help.
For example, in just days, our engineering and medical teams converted the Adani Vidya Mandir school in Ahmedabad into an emergency care facility – with hundreds of beds, oxygen support and catered food. It was literally ‘vidya-daan se jeevan-daan’, as our school’s halls of learning became halls of life. Likewise, our general hospitals in Bhuj and Mundra were remade into 100% COVID-care hospitals.