People who want to do philanthropy should do it actively, says Azim Premji

By: | Published: December 13, 2015 12:32 AM

IT czar Azim Premji—who has donated half of his stake in Wipro to charity through his company’s CSR arm, Azim Premji Foundation, largely in the primary education space...

IT czar Azim Premji—who has donated half of his stake in Wipro to charity through his company’s CSR arm, Azim Premji Foundation, largely in the primary education space—said people who want to do philanthropy should do it actively.

“People who want to do philanthropy should do it actively and money should be disbursed through an organisation. That is how sustainable change will happen. Later in the years, one should get a professional leader who is right for the job,” he said.

While delivering a lecture at the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore’s (IIMB) first global alumni conclave and leadership summit— IIMBUE—on Saturday, the Wipro chairman also talked about the need to donate more, challenges in giving away and the scope of philanthropy in India.

“I entered into philanthropy pretty late, much later when I had made enough money. But we saw significant improvement in the first four years of our work. Even though we do work at a large scale, the scope of improvement is limited to a small geographical space. So, the scope, size and depth of problems in India are very large,” said Premji, who was in conversation with Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, the head of Biocon and chairperson of the board of governors at IIMB, on the topic, ‘The business of philanthropy’.

Mazumdar-Shaw said India needed to see many more philanthropic activities coming from industrialists, bankers and employees. She also stressed on the need for giving it back to the society, including the alma mater.

Premji, who is the first Indian to sign the ‘Giving Pledge’ sponsored by billionaires Warren Buffett and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates to invite the world’s wealthiest to donate a majority of their wealth to charity, said that despite having large-scale projects the intended effect cannot be reached at micro-levels owing to dependency on executing agencies.

“… You are just penetrating a small proportion of the whole scenario, of the problem. That is very frustrating because you just don’t have bandwidth. You may still have the money, you don’t have the bandwidth,” he said.

“Second thing is you do rely on government machinery in terms of the work we do, like education. We have to depend on them very significantly, but it is in the slowness of the change… ,” Premji added.

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