Posted on August 14, 2010
'Giving Pledge' May Not Take Hold Among Indian Billionaires
Giving Pledge May Not Immediately Take Hold Among Indian Billionaires
Although there are many billionaires in India — the country is home to two of the five richest people in the world — the country's super-rich have yet to make commitments comparable to the pledges made by American billionaires at the urging of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, the Wall Street Journal reports.
To date, forty U.S. individuals and families have signed on to the Giving Pledge, the effort launched by Gates and Buffett last month to encourage the country's wealthiest individuals to give at least half their net worth to charity. The effort could raise upwards of $600 billion in the United States, Gates and Buffett have said, and they hope to convince billionaires in emerging economies to sign on to the pledge as well. When asked whether Indian billionaires would consider giving away a large percentage of their wealth, spokespersons for several wealthy Indians, including Mukesh and Anil Ambani, Azim Premji, and Sunil Mittal, declined to comment. A spokesperson for Sun Pharmaceuticals chairman Dilip Shanghvi, who is worth $4.6 billion, said Shanghvi "would prefer not to talk on personal philanthropy."
According to a recent Bain & Company report, Indians collectively donate 0.6 percent of their country's GDP to charity. Although the amount is higher than those of other emerging markets such as Brazil (0.3 percent) and China (0.1 percent), it still pales in comparison to nations such as Canada (1.3 percent) and the United States (2.2 percent). Meanwhile, just 10 percent of charitable giving in India comes from individuals or companies, compared to 75 percent in the U.S.
Emily Harrison, the founder of Innovaid, a Mumbai-based consultancy company for high net-worth individuals who want to establish charitable foundations, said Indian billionaires donate less than their Western counterparts not because they care less but because the channels for giving are fewer and, more often than not, riddled with corruption.
"Indians just don't trust the organizations that want money or that they could give to," said Harrison. "Often they find themselves in the position that even if they want to give, there is no mechanism available to them by which they could give....I don't think [wealthy Indians are] ever going to pledge half. Even though I would love to see that."
Will an Indian Billionaire Take the Pledge?.
Wall Street Journal
Primary Subject: Philanthropy and Voluntarism
Secondary Subject(s): Giving Pledge, International Affairs/Development
Location(s): India, International, Mumbai