March 14, 2019:
Wipro boss Azim Premji, 73, has pledged all his earnings from his stock in the multinational company to philanthropy, taking his total contribution to $21 billion, a figure nearly 10 times Bhutan’s GDP ($2.5 billion, 2017).
Premji pledged 34% of Wipro’s shares, which amount to ₹52,750 crore or $7.5 billion, towards charity initiatives, according to the statement.
With this, his overall commitment towards philanthropy will total ₹1.45 lakh crore, landing him a slot alongside some of the world’s most generous entrepreneurs, including Microsoft founder Bill Gates ($41 billion) and Berkshire Hathaway Chairman Warren Buffet (approximately $46.6 billion).
“He has done this by additionally earmarking all economic benefits for philanthropic purposes, in approx 34% of the shares in Wipro Limited (current market value ~INR 52,750 crores/ USD 7.5 Bn), held by certain entities controlled by him,” the statement read.
The gesture was acknowledged by entrepreneur Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, the chairperson of Biocon Ltd, in a tweet.
“Premji’s generosity knows no bounds. I salute his awesome philanthropy with deep respect and admiration,” she tweeted.
A not-for profit organisation set up in 2000, the Azim Premji Foundation has been primarily focusing on the field of elementary education in “some of the most disadvantaged parts of India”.
Most of the work has been undertaken in partnership with various State Govts, the statement said, with the current field of action spread across Karnataka, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Puducherry, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh, and some north-eastern states.
Many of India’s entrepreneurs have made significant contributions towards social causes, including Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani, HCL boss Shiv Nadar, Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani and his social worker wife Rohini Nilekani, and Shaw.
Most of their financial contributions have been directed towards education, healthcare, sanitation and social and rural development.
“The seriousness, scale and complexity of India’s social problems require philanthropists to go beyond personal satisfaction,” the India Philanthropy Report 2018 released by the US-based consultancy Bain & Company said, noting that Indian philanthropists were finally beginning to act on India’s needs.