News / Asia

India’s Software Tycoon Pledges Generous Donation to Charity

Azim Premji, the chief of Indian IT giant Wipro Limited.
Azim Premji, the chief of Indian IT giant Wipro Limited.
TEXT SIZE - +
Anjana Pasricha
— India’s third richest man has pledged $2.3 billion to an education charity, his second big donation. The philanthropic gesture is an exception in a country where the super rich are slow to give to charity despite massive wealth creation over the past decade.         

Software tycoon Azim Premji’s transfer of $2.3 billion worth of shares in his I-T company Wipro to his foundation will enable the charity to significantly scale up its work. The foundation focuses mostly on improving the quality of rural education.   

Premiji already tops the list of India’s philanthropists. In 2010, he gave away about $2 billion to the foundation. He has also become the first Indian to join the Giving Pledge initiative of American billionaires Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, which encourages the world’s super rich to donate at least half their fortune to charity.

But there are hardly any more examples of giving on a scale as generous as Premji.

Although two decades of economic boom have catapulted many in India into the category of the super rich, charitable giving by the wealthy is still tiny. The country has about 50 billionaires and 125,000 millionaires, but is also home to millions of people living in abject poverty.  

Deval Sanghavi is co founder of Mumbai-based Dasra, which evaluates and connects non profit organizations to philanthropists. Sanghavi says the appetite to give is growing among the super rich, but there is a long way to go in a country where poverty poses huge challenges.

Philanthropy analysts say reluctance on the part of the newly wealthy to give away their money stems from a lack of trust in Indian institutions to spend the funds properly. They point out that Indians have a long culture of giving, but much of it goes to household staff, the community and religious institutions.

George Mathews at the Indian Institute of Social Sciences in New Delhi says Indians tend to be “inward looking.” 

“If I belong to a particular community, I would like to see that my community prospers, if I come from a particular region, my attitude and approach will be, my region must prosper. They have to change their mindset," he said. "They have to take Indian holistically. What we need is an approach that whatever we are achieving, a part of it should be shared for the prosperity of the rest. That attitudinal change has to happen, it has to come from education and public discourse and other opinion making system.”

There is a silver lining when it comes to the coming generations. A 2012 report by global consultancy Bain on philanthropy in India says younger people are increasingly spearheading philanthropic activities.

Sangavi says that is a growing trend in family-run companies, which account for 70 percent of India’s top corporations.

“The next generation of these large families has come back being educated abroad and have limited professional roles to play in their companies that their parents or grandparents have started. Therefore, they are using their skills and their acumen to focus on philanthropy more effectively," he explained. "So, they definitely have been much more bullish. And, they also have aspirations of using their wealth to create social change beyond business.”

That social change is sorely needed. The report by Bain notes that there is significant room for improvement for private giving in a country which is home to both one of the world’s fastest-growing wealthy populations and to one third of the world’s malnourished children.

You May Like

Abuja Blast Impacts Lives, Livelihoods

Officials say they are looking at ways to help bombing victims and boosting security More

Cambodia Technology Adviser Criticizes Cybercrime Draft Law

Phu Leewood says current criminal code can be used to prosecute offenders and that there is no need for a separate law More

Photogallery A Year Later, Boston Remembers Deadly Marathon Bombings

City pauses to honor victims and salute emergency workers who came to their assistance in frantic moments after blasts More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid