Describing AIDS as a major challenge to human survival, the government on Monday said that the corporate sector must play a greater role by forging public-private partnerships to fight the dreaded disease.
"Now is the time for corporates to supplement the efforts of the government and other stakeholders, and commit resources," Minister of State for Commerce and Industry S B Mookherji said at a CII summit on AIDS in New Delhi.
"In this context, corporates can, perhaps, play a meaningful role in making available the highly expensive drugs for drug therapy," he said.
The summit, attended by Ratan Tata, chairman, Tata Sons; Richard Holbrooke, chief executive officer, Global Business Coalition on HIV; Anne Peterson, assistant administrator, Bureau for Global Health, USAID; and Heather Burns, senior vice president, Booz Allen Hamilton, stressed on a greater corporate participation in mitigating the disease.
Pointing out that it was not a matter of statistics, the minister said that the disease could have a serious impact on corporates by affecting their productivity.
Ratan Tata said that the business community had not been forthcoming so far, but it had to now put its best foot forward so that the spread of the disease can be curbed.
"It is a national, global calamity. A battle which we will all have to fight together. It calls for action not just from the government alone, but contribution by way of public-private partnership to attack the endemic," Tata said.