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Indian Bill Gates Launches Billion Dollar Endowment Fund




Azim Premji, chairman of Wipro, India, at the Annual Meeting 2009 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 31, 2009. (Image via Wikipedia)

Azim Premji, chairman of Wipro, India, at the Annual Meeting 2009 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 31, 2009. (Image via Wikipedia)

What does India need to do to diminish the divide between social classes?

Many of India's millionaires and billionaires have shown little interest in helping society become a better place. Whether they don't get time is debatable, but Wipro's billionaire founder is taking his philanthropic activities to a whole new level.

Azim Premji, considered by many to be "India's Bill Gates," has set up an endowment trust with a billion dollars of capital. The trust will be used to support initiatives for improving education standards and to upgrade teaching methods.

Modeled after Harvard Management Company, a company that manages Harvard University's $27.6 billion endowment, Wipro's chairman believes this charitable cause is likely to form a world-class university.

Following the trend, Anil Ambani of Reliance ADAG (Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group) recently announced the investment of a whopping $16.9 billion for central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh's power, mining, and cement projects.

Meanwhile, other Indian billionaires like Ravi Ruia of Karuturi Global Ltd. have been going to Africa on a shopping spree to buy coal mines, oil refineries, and call centers for "business opportunities." Similarly, Mukesh Ambani, the third richest man in India as rated by Forbes, will be moving into his $1 billion, state-of-the-art home in the heart of Mumbai city.

In a country where the rich seemingly get rich, and the poor get poorer, what does India need to do to diminish the divide between social classes?