co-founder Nandan Nilekani
and wife Rohini have pledged part of their wealth to charity, joining the ‘Giving Pledge’ movement initiated by Microsoft founder Bill Gates
and Melinda Gates where wealthy individuals commit part of their wealth to society.
The Nilekanis have joined other Indian billionaires like Wipro Chairman Azim Premji, Biocon Chairman & Managing Director Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, and Sobha Ltd Chairman P N C Menon, to be part of the global movement for philanthropy. Each of those named above has committed half of his or her wealth to charity.
The Nilekanis, whose wealth is estimated to be to the tune of around $1.7 billion, have focused on philanthropy for over two decades. Nandan Nilekani
has helped rebuild the hostel campus at alma mater IIT Bombay, and also set up the Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS), which looks at solving urban challenges for India.
has set up Arghyam, a non-profit organisation that looks at improving access to clean water and sanitation in remote villages, and Pratham, which publishes stories for children in multiple languages. The annual status of education research (ASER), a comprehensive research on children's learning abilities in schools has become a bible for policy planners on understanding the gaps between teaching and learning.
They have also launched Ekstep, a non-profit that would use gaming technologies to create a platform to help children learn basic concepts of mathematics and other subjects. Ekstep is the technical partner in the $500-million philanthropy fund set up by Gates.
“Those of us who have wealth beyond all our wants must ask that very sharply. Wealth comes with huge responsibility and is best deployed for the larger public interest,” wrote Nandan and Rohini Nilekani
in a joint statement on the Giving Pledge site.