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India’s second richest man, Chairman of Wipro (WIT) Azim Premji, is set to give billions away to charity in what apparently may be the largest donation ever for the country, according to CNN Business News.
Premji is a billionaire businessman, philanthropist and information technology guru in India. He graduated from Stanford University, and has been named among the 100 most influential people in the world by Time Magazine twice, once in 2004 and again in 2011. Premji has a net worth of nearly $19 billion according to Bloomberg’s Billionaire Index.
The tech tycoon will be donating the money to the Azim Premji Foundation and University – of which he has already donated $21 billion to, according to the foundation. In 2010, Premji made a donation of $2 billion towards his charity, the largest donation in India at the time. The donation amount for 2019 has not yet been made clear as of this time.
Premji founded the non-profit organization in 2001, with a focus in improving elementary school education within the rural areas of India. He had a vision to improve the overall structure of government-run schools – in these rural areas where most of the schools exist – in the hopes of improving and building a universal and equitable education system throughout India.
In 2013, Premji signed The Giving Pledge founded by Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, an initiative to encourage wealthy people to donate the majority of their wealth over to philanthropic causes. The pledge has currently recruited 187 signatories from over 22 countries – other notable members of that list include Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, founder of the Virgin Group Richard Branson and David Rockefeller grandson of J.D. Rockefeller. Premji was the first Indian to sign the pledge.
Premji’s donations accounted for over 80% of all “large donations” ($1.4 billion or more) contributed by private individuals in India, according to CNN and the India Philanthropy Report.
Premji’s success started in vegetables. His father owned Western Indian Vegetable Poducts Limited, which specialized in cooking oil and laundry soap, later diversified by Premji to include a wider range of products including toiletries and lighting products. Following the expulsion of IBM from India in the 1980s, Premji took the opportunity to fill the vacancy in the information technology sector, changed the former-vegetable company name to Wipro and shifted the companies focus to software development and manufacturing.
Premji started as the Rice Prince of Burma to eventually become the Maharaja of the India Information Technology Industry. Now to repay his fortunes he will offer the largest contribution to charity, for a one-time donation, the Indian country has ever seen.
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