Nilekanis to donate half of their wealth under ‘The Giving Pledge’

Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani and his wife Rohini have signed the Giving Pledge, committing to give away half of their wealth. Reports suggest that the Nileknis’ wealth is estimated to be to the tune of around USD 1.7 billion.

With this, the Nilekanis have joined the list of other Indian billionaires like Wipro Chairman Azim Premji, Biocon Chairman Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, and Sobha Ltd Chairman PNC Menon who have also committed half of their wealth to philanthropy. The Giving Pledge was launched by Bill Gates along with his wife Melinda and Warren Buffett seven years ago.

In a statement, the Nilekanis explained why they joined the Giving Pledge movement, which says,”We see that inequality is increasing sharply in most countries. We see the young and the restless in this interconnected globe, unsure of their future, wanting more but anticipating less. We see a growing politics of polarization, of divisions, of brinksmanship. It is as if the world holds its breath. What should we do at this time? That is a question every citizen must ask. 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. So, what must the super-wealthy do?”

Bill Gates welcomed Nilekani for their pledge and said: “I’m amazed by how Nandan Nilekani has lent his entrepreneurial passion to philanthropy. I’m delighted to welcome him and his wife Rohini to the Giving Pledge.”

“Nandan and Rohini are not only a notable example of generosity, they are also putting their time and energy into philanthropy. A lot of stuff they are doing is very catalytic,” Bill Gates told.

“Philanthropy is tough. It forces you to think about your death. It requires a family to get to a certain point where they feel that giving makes sense for them. 171 people have signed the Giving Pledge. This is way beyond what we thought we would ever achieve,” Gates added.

Later Bill Gates tweeted on his handle about Nilekani’s pledge on his twitter handle on Monday.

“I’m amazed by how @NandanNilekani has lent his entrepreneurial passion to philanthropy. I’m delighted to welcome him and his wife Rohini to the Giving Pledge,” Gates tweeted.

Rohini Nilekani 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.

Nandan Nilekani recently returned to Infosys as Non-Executive Chairman.