There is no doubt that India has produced notable billionaires even as family businesses have passed down from generation to generation.
However, the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. In a bid to make a difference in the society, few billionaires in India are extending their fruitful contributions to the less unfortunate ones.
In its, India Philanthropy List 2018, Hurun Research Institute mentioned that Indian philanthropy was at Rs 2310 crore last year with an average donation per philanthropist being Rs 61 crores.
Mumbai tops the list in the most number of philanthropists at 12 and then Bengaluru (6) and Ahmedabad (4).
Here are the top 10 Indian philanthropists in terms of the money donated from October 1, 2017, to September 31, 2018.
Net worth: Rs 1480 crore
Contribution to social good: Rs 770 crore
Padma Bhushan awardee Shiv Nadar co-founded HCL in the year 1976 to make calculators and microprocessors and gradually, it went on to become a multinational IT company. At present, Chairman of HCL, Nadar also runs the Shiv Nadar Foundation that pursues creative philanthropy.
The foundation supports rural education and offers scholarships for underprivileged students to study abroad. The 74-year-old also founded the SSN College of Engineering in Chennai in 1996 and has also gifted a whopping Rs 1 million worth of HCL shares to the college.
Net worth: $64.5 billion
Contribution to social cause: Rs 437 crore
The 62-year-old Chairman and Managing Director of Reliance Industries was born into the super-rich Ambani family. His father Dhirubhai Ambani was the one who found Reliance Industries in 1966 as a small textile manufacturer and over the years, the company multiplied into businesses across sectors, including textiles, telecommunications, and energy.
Mukhesh Ambani, the richest man in Asia has invested in education, social, rural development, and healthcare through Reliance Foundation which is chaired by his wife Nita Ambani. Established in the year 2010, it undertakes activities like urban renewal, and art and culture. Last year, when Kerala was hit by flash flood, he donated a sum of Rs 71 crore in cash and supplies.
For the 12th straight year, Reliance Industries’ chairman Mukesh Ambani is the richest Indian billionaire. The recent official announcement that social media giant Facebook will be investing ₹43,574 crores for a 9.99% stake in Reliance Jio Platforms has now made Mukesh Ambani the richest person in Asia.
The top business magnate Mukesh Ambani retained the top spot in the Indian billionaires’ list. It’s because of an epic success of his telecom company Reliance Jio, he is enjoying a staggering wealth.
The massive net worth of Mukesh Ambani, the chairman of Reliance Industries Ltd., has hiked to $64.5 billion, making him the only Asian tycoon in the exclusive club of the world’s top 10 richest people, as per the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. He also overtook Larry Ellison of Oracle Corp. and France’s Francoise Bettencourt Meyers, the wealthiest woman, to reach the No. 9 spot.
Ambani, who owns 42% of Reliance benefited from a flurry of investment into company’s digital unit, Jio Platforms Ltd. said that the company had become net debt-free just eight months ahead of March 2021 deadline it had set for itself.
It should be noted that the target of making the oil-to-telecom behemoth debt-free was outlined by Chairman and Managing Director Mukesh Ambani at RIL’s 42nd Annual General Meeting on August 12, 2019.
“We have a very clear roadmap to becoming a zero net-debt company within the next 18 months, that is by 31st March 2021,” Ambani said. “We have received strong interest from strategic and financial investors in our consumer businesses, Jio and Reliance Retail.
We will induct leading global partners in these businesses in the next few quarters and move towards listing of both these companies within the next five years. With these initiatives, I have no doubt that your company will have one of the strongest balance sheets in the world.”
According to Reliance Industries, the company’s net debt was Rs 161,035 crore as on March 31, 2020.
The overall investment resulting from 11 deals struck by Reliance Industries for its digital unit, Jio Platforms, over the last nine weeks amounts to Rs 115,693.95 crore. The recent RIL rights issue fetched Rs 53,124.20 crore. Together with Jio investments, it played an important role in helping RIL become net debt-free.
While the Indian economy “has been nearly decimated” during the lockdown period to curb the spread of Covid-19, “Mr. Ambani’s companies (particularly the telecom giant Jio) have prospered, and his personal wealth has increased substantially,” said Jayati Ghosh, chair of the Centre for Economic Studies and Planning at the Jawaharlal Nehru University.
Meanwhile, a media representative for Reliance refused to comment on Mukesh Ambani’s fortune. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos tops the list with a whopping net worth of $158.9 billion, Bill Gates follows next on the list with $109.4 billion and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg comes fourth at $86.9 billion.
Ajay Piramal and family
Net worth: Rs 420 crore
Contribution to social cause: Rs 200 crore
Ajay Piramal leads Piramal Enterprises, a conglomerate that concentrates in pharma, healthcare, and financial services. The group had first struck its biggest deal in 2010 when Abbott Labs bought Piramal’s pharma arm for a whopping $3.8 billion.
The group also takes part in various philanthropic activities through the Piramal Foundation, starting projects in areas of healthcare, education, livelihood creation, and youth empowerment. His wife Swati is a vice-chairman and their children Nandini and Anand work on the board.
Azim Premji and family
Net worth: Rs 480 crore; Contribution to social cause: Rs 113 crore
74-year-old tech magnate Azim Hashim Premji is the Chairman of IT firm Wipro and was listed among the 100 most successful people for two years by TIME magazine.
In the year 2013, he signed ‘The Giving Pledge; to donate at least half of his wealth, a campaign started by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett.
So far, he has donated $21 billion to Azim Premji Foundation, which is an education-focused non-profit he founded in 2001.
Adi Godrej and family
Net worth: Rs 260 crore
The 77-year-old business tycoon chairs Godrej Group and Indian School of Business since April 2011. His firm supports the activities of the World Wildlife Fund in India. The billionaires’ significant contribution towards the social cause is commendable as he has donated Rs 96 crore.
25% of the shares of the Godrej group is dedicated to its non-profit such as Pirojsha Godrej Foundation, the Soonabai Pirojsha Godrej Foundation, and the Godrej Memorial Trust. The funds are well spent on initiatives in education, healthcare, and environmental sustainability.
Keen on standing on his own leg, Gautam Adani left college and then started as a diamond sorter at Mahindra Brothers. Today, the 57-year-old Chairman of Adani Group manages several businesses in areas of energy, agriculture, defence, and aerospace.
He is also the president of the Adani Foundation, the company’s social responsibility arm founded in 1996. It has set up Adani Vidya Mandir, school for underprivileged children in Ahmedabad, Bhadreshwar, and other states and supports 300 government schools, educating as many as 100,000 children.
His net worth is estimated at Rs 1040 crore and he has by far contributed Rs 76 crore for social good.
Yusuff Ali MA
The Kerala-born, UAE gold resident cardholder Yusuff Ali MA has donated Rs 70 crore for a noble cause and his net worth is estimated at Rs 370 crore.
He is the Managing Director and Chairman of Lulu Group International. The retail business owns over 170 hypermarkets and shopping malls and recruits the most number of Indians abroad.
How many of you all know that he is a Padma Shree awardee? The 63-year-old Ali has always come forward to contribute during natural disasters such as the Gujarat earthquake in 2001, Jammu and Kashmir floods in 2014, and many others. In addition to that, group also works with global philanthropic organisation Dubai Cares and has also adopted schools in Gaza and Nepal.
For the uninitiated, Savji Dhanji Dholakia is the Founder and Chairman of Diamond manufacturing and exporting company Hari Krishna Exports. His net worth is Rs 380 crore and has donated Rs 40 crore for the social good.
The 57-year-old collaborated with his uncle in his business after dropping out of school at the age of 13 and then went on to find his own business venture in 1984, with his brothers.
The Dholakia Foundation has also organised many events in order to promote sustainable living and in December last year, organised the Samhu Lagna ‘big-fat marriage’ for around 78 couples.
Shapoor Pallonji Mistry and Cyrus Pallonji Mistry
Shapoorji Mistry has been serving as the chairman of the Shapoorji Pallonji Group since the year 2003 and is the only person with most stake in the family conglomerate TATA Group whereas Cyrus was the Chairman of TATA Group for 4 years (2012 to 2016). His firm Cyrus Investments holds around 18.4 percent stake in the Group.
On top of that, 66 percent of TATA Sons is owned by a philanthropic trust- TATA Philanthropic Allied Trusts, which contributes by combating issues in health, education and poverty. The company also offers education grants for deserving students to study abroad and in India.
Their net worth is estimated at Rs 960 crore each and they have contributed a sum of Rs 36 crore each to the social good.