Will Buffett, Gates’ giving pledge convince rich Indians?

March 22, 2011

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates are on a week-long trip to India, primarily to encourage the rich to give away a portion of their wealth to charity.

The visit follows a similar one made by the duo to China, the country with the most number of billionaires after the United States, where they urged the wealthy to sign up for their Giving Pledge campaign.

India’s rich are not really known for sharing their wealth. Big, family-run businesses are often inherited and set up with the help of ancestral wealth, and few have shown any willingness to part with it.

The number of wealthy Indians has been rising fast over the last decade, but they’re not ready yet to let go of their cash, even for charity, according to a study last year by business consultancy Bain & Co.

Despite billions of dollars in donations by software czar Azim Premji and telecom tycoon Sunil Mittal to set up charitable foundations, and by Vineet Nayyar, head of software firm Tech Mahindra, things haven’t changed much.
The Indian media on Tuesday said the attempt by Gates and Buffett could go in vain, as the rich plan to “turn up at the event to hear the wit and wisdom of the Oracle of Omaha – but may send him back with empty pockets.”

India currently has 55 billionaires and their average net worth is $4.5 billion versus $2.5 billion for a Chinese billionaire, according to Forbes.

Gates, on Tuesday, promoted his charity organisation in a newspaper column that quoted Buffett and Mahatma Gandhi, and highlighted how funds are used at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

“For me, philanthropy is a responsibility, a passion, and an honour. And so far as I can tell — after being a parent — it’s the most gratifying job on earth,” Gates wrote.

How far Gates and Buffett succeed in convincing the fast growing Indian rich to part with a portion of the money they hold so close to their heart is yet to be seen. But if they do, it will surely reflect a significant change in the Indian mindset.

Will India’s billionaires be interested in following in the footsteps of Buffett and Gates footsteps? Share your thoughts.

3 comments

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What is the next big thing?

Why We Indian are always a copycat. Why do we form the front grouprow only in illliteracy, corruption, inefficiency,
child death, female foeticide or almost anything negative. Because we are like that only. Our “Chalta Hai” attitude is
goubling up the government and private machinery alike.

It was very hartening to see Bill and Waren visiting India, to raise awreness and exhorting, the highly rich individuals, to loose the
strings of thier purses and give back to society, which has made them heros and celebrated with them for every success they achieved,
though there was not much for them, remember sense of achivement displayed on Mittal acquiring Arcelor.
What a role reversal for us. In Yesteryears, India gave birth to philosopher like Vivekanad, who went to west to spread the message of
brotherhood, tolerance and spirituality. Now, we have gone sos piritually and socially bankrupt that we need western to guide us to help
our brethren. What a shame!!!

Can we expect such a noble kind of gesture from Ambani brothers, Birlas or mittals. They may deliver good speeches on philonthrophy, but when it comes
to letting off with thier funds, jibes fades.
ivekanand

Sometimes, we wonder, what is that makes USA unique as a nation. Why US still reign the worlds, where as USSR, JAPAN and, Hopefully China,
gave up with time. To me, it is ingenuity of Americans, which puts them miles ahead. Despite a long history of painful
segregation and aparthied, the citizen have overcome and have selected Obama, Obiously one of the most suitable guy, as thier leader.
What a brilliant glimpse of assimilation and meritocracy. On the othe rhand, in India, Still society is ripped apart on the basis of caste,
creed, language and religions. Our, so called, leaders still consider aformentioned classification sufficinet enough to keep the flame of
hatred alive and secure their birth and lavish life style.

The next big thing, which Bill and Waren has shown is the “giving pledge”. This initiative, I am confident, will revolutionize the world
as Windows has metamorphosised the computer age. What may be better than to see that some of the best mind or working on generation of profit
just to give it back to society, to build a stronger youth with better education, great precedent and more patritic
and human flavor. Would not it make a nation stronger, resilient, dynamic and leader.

Posted by d1chat | Report as abusive

In India money and power are interlinked. To lose one means to lose the other. Being rich alone will not help someone live in paradise in India. One needs to have a clout in addition to being rich. This way they can twist anything to their desire. If medical attention is needed, there will always be a bed made ready in the most expensive hospital. Any patient needing critical attention will be evicted to make room for the rich. It is still a feudal system in disguise. In the US, the rich still have to follow the law of the land. They can at the most live inside a high security wall. But outside of it, an average American can demand the same right as the rich man. In India, the rich have modeled themselves after the royal people of the past – make way for the king. That is how things work in India. In this condition, who would want to part with their money? No one wants to fall hard, especially in India, where the fallen get trampled. So everyone is trying hard to keep his money all to himself as much as possible.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive

Warren Buffet had pledged to give 99% of his wealth. Did he give?

Posted by Deeksha_DD | Report as abusive