Azim Premji, the billionaire chairman of Indian conglomerate Wipro Ltd., will give a further 34 percent of shares in the company worth $7.5 billion to support philanthropic activities, the most generous donation in Indian history.
The shares held by entities controlled by Premji have been irrevocably renounced and earmarked to the Azim Premji Foundation, the foundation said in a statement on Wednesday.
"With this action, the total value of the philanthropic endowment corpus contributed by Mr. Premji is $21 billion, which includes 67% of economic ownership of Wipro."
His foundation works directly in education and supports over 150 other non-profits serving under-privileged and marginalized Indians through multi-year financial grants. The foundation set up the Azim Premji University to develop professionals in education and related human development domains, offer degree and education programs, and conduct research.
The foundation will scale up significantly in the coming years, it said in the statement. The team working in education will scale from the current 1,600 people and grant-making activities will triple. The Bengaluru-based university will expand to 5,000 students with over 400 faculty members. The foundation intends to set up another university in northern India.
Ultra-rich Indians, those with a net worth of over $50 million, are less charitable than they were five years ago, the Mint newspaper reported last week, with Premji being the exception. The 73-year-old Bengaluru-based billionaire is India's second-richest man and ranks 51 in Bloomberg's list of global billionaires.
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