Nandan Nilekani pledges to donate half his wealth to charity
Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani and his wife Rohini pledged half of their wealth, estimated at $1.7 billion, to charity this weekend. They have become the fourth Indian signatories to join 'The Giving Pledge'. Started in 2010 by Bill and Melinda Gates, and Warren Buffett, it pitches billionaires to commit part of their wealth to philanthropy. Giving Pledge now has 171 members from 21 countries.
Incidentally, all four Indian members of 'The Giving Pledge' hail from Bengaluru, India's tech hub which has lately solidified its position as the nation's philanthropic hotspot. The other three include Wipro chairman Azim Premji, Biocon chief Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw and PNC Menon of Sobha Developers.
The Nilekanis said to 'The Giving Pledge' website, "Wealth comes with huge responsibility and is best deployed for the larger public interest." As for the announcement's timing, Rohini told the Economic Times, "It took me some time to culturally adjust to this that we declare it so publicly. I think the time is right for us now. We're pretty much committed to doing this."
The Nilekanis have been engaged in philanthropy since the last 20 years. Their social work is multidisciplinary, ranging from health, education, urban planning, space innovation to data building and creating path-breaking public schemes with the government (Aadhaar, for instance). Among their many initiatives include Rohini Nilekani's Arghyam, a non-profit that work towards making clean water and sanitation accessible in remote villages.
After a major boardroom shakeup, Nilekani returned to Infosys in August as non-executive chairman to boost new energy and perspective into the faltering tech giant. One among the seven engineers who founded Infosys in 1981, he served as its CEO from 2002 to 2007.