While instances of philanthropy of the scale seen in the West may not be as common in the developing world, in recent times, it has seen more people come forward and donate to charity.
An Indian is among the latest to join the list of such exemplar donors—Larsen & Toubro chief AM Naik told The Economic Times in an interview that he has pledged 75% of his life-earnings to charity. Though the outgoing head of L&T is not new to philanthropy—he runs a charitable foundation for education and skilling and a medical trust—his recent commitment is expected to put him in the league of Azim Premji and Nandan Nilekani.
While India figures amongst the top nations in terms of donation-to-GDP—an analysis by Charities Aid Foundation shows that the country ranks seventh with a 0.37% charity-to-GDP ratio—it ranks poorly (106 out of 145 countries) in terms of the foundation’s World Giving Index report 2015, which takes into account measures like helping a stranger and volunteering time besides donation.
India also doesn’t fare too well in the donation index—at 96, it is down 20 notches from its 2014 rank. Although the exact figures are not available, an analysis of donations to educational institutes for research shows that it receives only a fraction of what the US does—the Time magazine says that select US colleges received $40.3 billion in charity in 2015. India would need many more giving hands if it is to create more facilities and encourage R&D.