The first-ever annual India Day at the UK Parliament was launched by India Inc. last year, with senior parliamentarians, Global Indian business chiefs and cultural ambassadors joining in for a special event within the House of Lords complex by the river Thames.
This year, it was once again at the heart of India Global Week 2020 but with a nod to the substantially changed landscape of the coronavirus pandemic that the world finds itself in. However, the lockdown and its many constraints failed to dampen the spirit of India Day @ Parliament, as India Inc. was joined by the Tata Group to support the distribution of 2,250 free meals to those in need in both countries.
As one of the most lively examples of the UK-India winning partnership, which forms the bedrock of India Global Week, the India Day virtual event opened with a keynote by UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, during which he plugged the UK and India as “energetic champions of free trade” as also a force for good in the world.
“India Inc, the organisers of this event, have done a fantastic job in moving the programming virtually and delivering so many meaningful discussions, including the annual India-UK Building Winning Partnerships session in which we participated,” said Tim Jones CBE, Executive Director, Tata Limited - a key supporter of the event.
“The session was originally due to be a parliamentary lunch but due to the current global pandemic, we are proud to say that together with India Inc. we refocussed our efforts to a more worthy cause by providing over 2,000 meals to those less fortunate, in the UK with our charity partner Sewa Day and in India, with our charity partner Taj Public Service Welfare Trust,” he said..
The end result was an event that took on a whole new meaning, which will no doubt find echoes in years to come.
“The lunch itself has taken on a new form and meaning with the provision of more than 2,000 free meals for those less fortunate across India and the UK. I would like to thank Tata for their generosity in supporting such a worthy cause and also appreciate the support of our charity partners, Tata Public Welfare Service Trust and Sewa Day,” said Lord Jitesh Gadhia, also the host of the first India Day @ Parliament in 2019.
India Inc. Founder and CEO Manoj Ladwa explains that the concept of India Day was created with this very aim in mind - of creating and enhancing winning partnerships between the two countries.
He said: “Sewa Day and Taj Public Service Welfare Trust have been carrying out vital work at this challenging time for the most vulnerable in our societies. I'm very pleased that, in partnership with Tata, we have been able to support those efforts through the funds raised to support our annual India Day @ Parliament.
“Our India Day exists to showcase the winning partnership between India and the UK, and we see these contributions as part of our continuing efforts to enrich the bilateral relationship in all its facets.”
Since March,Sewa Day Kitchens have delivered over 300,000 hot meals to National Health Service (NHS) staff, key workers and predominantly to individuals whose lives have been turned upside down by the pandemic.
Anand Vyas, Director,Sewa Day, said: “In collaboration with many community groups, businesses and organisations we have been able to provide much needed support to communities around the UK including food supplies, personal protective equipment (PPE), and equally importantly compassion and joy through our 'Spread the Joy' campaign.
“We have been fortunate in working with the India Inc. Group and Tata Group?whose donations have helped us to continue to provide hot meals to those in need across London. As we prepare for the long-term impact of the pandemic and adapt our work to the support that is required, we look forward to working with organisations such as India Inc. in the future.”