Wipro chairman Azim Premji on Friday said that he has transferred 295.5 million equity shares, representing 12% of the total shares of the company, held by certain entities controlled by him, to an irrevocable trust. With this transfer, valued at R12,300 crore, the trusts shareholding in Wipro will go up to 19.93%.
The trust will utilise the endowment to fund various social, not-for-profit initiatives of the Azim Premji Foundation, which are expected to scale significantly over the next few years, Wipro said. Premji had in 2010 pledged a 8.7% of his ownership, amounting to about $2 billion, to his foundation for philanthropic activities. He is also the first Indian to sign up for the Giving Pledge, charity initiative, run by Bill Gates and Warren Buffet. The Giving Pledge campaign is a commitment by the worlds wealthiest individuals and families to dedicate much of their wealth for philanthropy.
The Azim Premji Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation, started in 2001, works with the aim of collaborating with various state governments to improve the public schooling system. The Foundation, which works largely in rural India, is currently spread across Karnataka, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Pondicherry, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh.
As part of strategy, over the last two years, the Foundation has set up the Azim Premji University at Bangalore, state-level institutes in three states, district-level institutes at seven districts and six demonstration schools associated with the district institutes. Seven more district-level institutes are in various stages of formation.
Over the next 4-5 years, the number of district-level institutions will expand to 50-60, state-level institutions to 6-8 and the university will expand to have 3,500 students with 350 faculty members across multiple programmes. The foundation will also have 50-100 demonstration schools associated with district-level institutions. During this period, the team is expected to grow from the current 800 people to about 4,000, the company said in a statement on Friday.
According to an Indian Philanthropy Report 2012, by Bain & Co, the average donations in 2011 rose to 3.1% of total income, up from 2.3% in 2010. The report noted that Indians were giving the most among the developing countries.