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Billionaire Encourages Wealthy Indians To Be More Charitable

Azim PremjiBillionaire Azim Premji is the founder of Wipro, one of the biggest IT companies in India. The Hurun India Philanthropy List named Premji as the “Most Generous Indian” of 2014, as Premji has pledged to donate more than half of his vast wealth to a number of charities. Now Premji is on a mission to encourage more wealthy Indians to break out of the traditional mindset of hoarding their wealth and passing it on to the next generation.

Premji wants wealthy Indians to start giving more to charity and follow in the footsteps of Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and most recently Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. Earlier this month, Zuckerberg said he would give away 99% of his $45 billion worth of Facebook shares to charity during his lifetime.

Speaking at the Indian Institute of Management’s first global alumni conclave and leadership summit in Bangalore on December 12, Premji said:

A philanthropic mindset should be imbibed in all from a young age and rich Indians should be more forthcoming in giving away their wealth in a poverty-ridden country.

Premji, who donates much of his fortune through his not-for-profit Azim Premji Foundation, said his biggest influence in philanthropy was his mother, a doctor who founded an orthopedic hospital for children. The Aziz Premji Foundation strives to spread quality education through over 350,000 schools across eight states in India.

Premji is the first Indian to sign Bill Gates’ Giving Pledge that invites the wealthiest people in the world to donate most of their riches to charity. He stands out by shining example in his philanthropic endeavours. Compared with him, the country’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani, donated only 0.4% of his riches to philanthropic causes in 2014.

By 2013, Premji had already donated 25 per cent of his wealth to philanthropic causes and pledged to donate 25 per cent more over the next five years. In July 2014, continuing with his promise, Premji donated a further 18% of his stakeholding in Wipro, thereby giving away Rs 53,000 crore in shares to charity.

Premji lives a modest life, unlike most of his peer billionaires in India who splurge on luxuries from fast cars to expensive homes. The Wipro chairman has been in the news for trading in his Toyota car for a second-hand Mercedes Benz. A modest investment indeed for man who had a networth of US$16.2 billion or approximately Rs 1,08,605 crore as of November 2015!