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Azim Premji, the philanthropist tycoon, sets an example

Updated: February 23, 2013, 8:20 PM IST
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Azim Premji, the philanthropist tycoon, sets an example
Premji made the largest philanthropic transfer by any individual in the country after he signed the Buffet-Gates Giving Pledge.

The third richest Indian, Wipro chairman Azim Premji, has done it again. Setting an example for the other billionaires in the country, the Wipro Chairman on Friday transferred shares worth about Rs 12,300 crore to his philanthropic arm, the Azim Premji Trust. This is the largest philanthropic transfer by any individual in the country.

The big step taken by Premji came after he became the first Indian to sign up for the Gates-Buffet International Giving Pledge, which was formed by Warren Buffet and Bill and Melinda Gates in 2010.

With the transfer of the fund, the shareholding of the Azim Premji trust in Wipro will go up to about 19.93 per cent, according to a statement issued by the Foundation here. The 295.5 million shares of Wipro Ltd represent around 12 per cent stake.

However, this is not the first time that the third richest Indian has donated a major chunk of his wealth for philanthropy. In 2010 as well, the business tycoon had donated 8.7 per cent of the total stock of Wipro from his personal stock-holding for philanthropy in 2010. This had formed the endowment for the Foundation.

In a letter for the first international Giving Pledge, Premji said that foundation currently had 800 people spread across the country, and he expected the foundation to grow to 4,000-5,000 people.

The non-profit organisation set up by Premji in 2001 currently functions across Karnataka, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Puducherry, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Madhya Prades, in close partnership with various state governments. The foundation has worked largely in rural areas, to help contribute to the improvement of quality and equity of school education.

According to Premji, he learnt the art of giving from his mother. His gesture has certainly struck a chord with the common man as well as corporate heads. Nasscom president Som Mittal also appreciated the step taken by the Wipro chairman. Hope there are more corporate tycoons in the country who will contribute their wealth for the betterment of society and not just own it.

First Published: February 23, 2013, 8:20 PM IST
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