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March 15, 2019 08:52 PM | Economy

Experts discuss ways to harness power of philanthropy and promote art of giving back

IT czar Azim Premji has earmarked economic benefits of about 34 per cent of his shares in Wipro, worth Rs 52,750 crore, for his foundation involved in philanthropy, according to a statement.

With this, the total value of the endowment corpus, which supports Azim Premji Foundation's philanthropic activities, contributed by Premji has swelled to a staggering Rs 1.45 lakh crore, which includes 67 percent of economic ownership of Wipro Ltd.

One of the handfuls of Indian's who have signed up for the giving pledge started by billionaires Warren Buffet and Bill Gates, Premji has decided to put his money to work to drive change. While Premji's philanthropy made headlines, it also put the focus on the trend of giving in India.

While 2 percent spends on corporate social responsibility (CSR) is now part of the Companies Act, individual philanthropic efforts need to be catalysed. The Bain India Philanthropy report for 2019 showed that if Premji's philanthropic contributions were excluded, Indian donations of Rs 10 crore and above have declined 4 percent since 2014 even as the proportion of the ultra-rich grew by 12 percent.

CNBC-TV18 spoke to Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, chairperson and MD, Biocon; Sudha Murty, chairperson, Infosys Foundation and Anant Bhagwati, director, Dasra, to discuss what can be done to harness the power of philanthropy and promote the art of giving back.

Kiran Mazumdar Shaw said, "As a first generation entrepreneur and a wealth creator, I have always believed that wealth is something that has to be used to make a difference to society, to make an impact on society, societal improvement. Personally, I have always believed that wealth and knowledge are to be shared and not hoarded, so I just feel that that has been my personal driving philosophy.

Sudha Murty said, "India has the tradition of giving back but all these years it was different because it was kind of charity. But now it has come out in a much different way after 2 percent of CSR. Now it is much more systematic, you have a strategy, you have rules, where you can give, where you cannot give. So, this is altogether a different method of giving. I am seeing that there is a growth of youngsters physically volunteering and also giving individually to a cause whichever is dear to their heart."
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