Azim Premji: India’s most generous philanthropist

Azim Premji is India’s biggest, most generous giver. He donated Rs.7,904 crore last year – or approximately Rs.22 crore a day – to top the EdelGive Hurun Philanthropy List 2020. Premji is followed by Shiv Nadar (with Rs.795 crore) and Mukesh Ambani (Rs.458 crore). Mumbai, it seems, is home to the largest number of philanthropists in the country (36), followed by Delhi and Bangalore. Education remained the cause of choice to donate to, followed by healthcare.

India Inc has also opened its purse strings more than usual this year, by giving Rs.12,050 crore – an increase of 175 per cent from last year.

The report, which reaches out to individual rather than company givers, features 112 philanthropists, up about 12 per cent since last year.

This year, the list tracks donations in cash or equivalent amounts of Rs.5 crore and above over the last financial year, and does not include any Covid-related giving.

Mumbai couple Archana and Amit Chandra, with their donations of Rs.27 crore through their ATE Foundation, were the first professionals (rather than promotors) to make the list, while former Flipkart co-founder Binny Bansal, at 37, was the youngest philanthropist, giving Rs.5.3 crore. The list also included seven women, led by Rohini Nilekani, who gave Rs.47 crore.

Two Mumbai-based philanthropists debuted this time in the Top 10, including Kumar Mangalam Birla and the Hinduja brothers.

“Data for individual philanthropy is not readily available,” says Vidya Shah, chairperson and CEO of EdelGive Foundation.

“We have to triangulate a lot to get a reasonable sense of giving in the country. As India moves towards becoming a middle-income country, the evolving patterns of giving provide clues to what are the issues that need tackling. This encourages more strategic giving by philanthropists.” Shah adds that the list is also aspirational.

“I believe that the people on this list truly want to participate in the making of a more just and equal society. Th report acknowledges strategic giving that is already happening, and can be a guiding light for those who want to give.”

Anas Rahman Junaid, MD and Chief Researcher of Hurun India, says: “In India, where philanthropy is kept a secret, this recognises donations and gets future generations active. It also helps philanthropists align their causes and start discussions about giving.” He adds: IT shows the more responsible side of wealth creation.” Indeed, he believes that if every high networth individual in India who is engaged in giving agreed to be a part of the list, it would have “at least 300 to 500 people”.

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