H C Singh

Azim Premji- Great Philanthropist of India

Azim Premji has really become great in the sphere of philanthropy, as his first name Azim means. He was already prominent in Business as chief of Wipro. Premji owned 79% share in Wipro and he has decided to transfer 8.7% of his share valued at 8,846 crores of Rupees to Azim Premji Foundation. Though Premji controls the foundation or trust but it will be managed by K.R.Lakshmi Narayana who is at present Wipro’s Chief Strategy Officer. Transfer of millions of shares from Wipro to the foundation came into effect from 7th December 2010 and so the Philanthropy of such a huge amount of more than 8000 crore of rupees will come into operation.

It is evident that this is the biggest philanthropic fund that will, as per the announced purpose, be utilized mainly for educational purposes. In Azim Premji’s words, that highlight the purpose of transfer of millions of shares, which would have earned 127 crores of rupees during 2009-10 alone: “We believe that good education is crucial to building a just, equitable and sustainable society. We want to contribute significantly towards improvement of education in India, and through that towards building a better society” During 20006, Anil Aggarwal foundation had announced an endowment of 1 billion dollars more than 4000 crore rupees for setting up Vedanta University in Orissa. On the other hand Tata group, Anand Mahindra and Narayan Murthy contributed to Harvard University, while India needed more funds and donations for education of poor and neglected children and required huge amount of donation for their overall uplift. In this connection it is significant while in USA 2% of GDP is given for philanthrophy in India only 0.6% of GDP while USA’s GDP is more than 100 times that of India. Tata, Mahindra and Krishnamurthy should be aware that philanthropy like charity should begin at home and not abroad.

Azim Premji proposes to set up a University in Bangalore. His main emphasis would be to encourage more students for primary education which would be much improved than the existing, as better primary education is the greatest need of the time. So that more people are educated and rise further and get employment of all categories. The University will be rightly known as Azim Premji University which is likely to come up in 2011 or within a couple of years starting with admission of 200 and reaching in few years to 3000 or even more.

Such philanthropy in India is so far unknown. It matches with that of Rockefeller and Ford Foundations of United States and it is not anywhere else in the world. It is heartening to note that Azim Premji Foundation, since 2000 has given assistance to more than 25000 schools all over India for better and free education to the poor children as well as better education to all and it is pointed out that more than 25 lakh students have benefitted since then. Government of Karnataka has approved the location and setting up of the Azim Premji University and has allotted 75 acres of land about 15 kilometer away from the Wipro Ltd headquarters, an IT major owned by Azim Premji.

Efforts to improve education for severally deprived and backward students are not confined to Karnataka only which has allotted hundreds of acres of land and is willing to provide other requisite facilities. The Azim Premji Foundation plans to set up centers in all districts all over the country in all the states without exception during next five years or so.

Ambani brothers and Jindals are the richest Indian businessmen. Their concerns are amongst the 10 greatest in the world. They are among the ten richest businessmen in the world. It is high time that they follow the example of Azim Premji who is third richest in India and 28th richest in the world. Thus Ambanis are far richer than Azim Premji. They can make twice the amount for Philanthropy in India to improve the conditions of poor and backward section of society of India without discrimination of caste, religion or state.

Economic and social inequality in India is still one of the highest while the number of billionaires is increasing. It is estimated by Forbes Magazine that there are 69 billionaires in India at present. They should follow the example of Azim Premji and contribute about 5 to 10 percent of their yearly profit for philanthropy. At least 20 billionaires in India are such that they are so prosperous that they can easily contribute for charitable and philanthropy purposes at least 40 billion dollars annually. That would come to more than 1 lakh fifty thousand crores of rupees. Such and so much contribution towards social and economic uplift of the poor and backward, who are still more than 30 percent of India’s population, will go a long way in uplifting them and within 10 years, population of India below poverty line will come down substantially and India’s prestige abroad, by having more technologist, doctors and Business Managers, would rise. India will be able to win battle of poverty which cannot be won by the Government efforts and contribution alone. Thus Azim Premji’s efforts and contribution of 2 Billion Dollars i.e. more than 8000 crores of rupees is exemplary.

December 7, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment