With a net worth of $3.3 billion, prominent industrialist Anil Agarwal has pledged 75% of his and his family’s wealth to charity, with a new liberal arts and humanities-focussed university in India among his priorities.
Agarwal, chairman of Vedanta Resources, made the announcement on Thursday evening at a event at the London Stock Exchange to mark a decade of his company’s premium listing. It was the first Indian company in 2003 to gain such a listing, which qualified it to enter the FTSE 250.
Agarwal told HT: “It is important to give back what we earn for the greater good of the society, community programmes that work towards eradication of poverty, child welfare & women empowerment will be our focus for communities at large in our country.
He added: “I am keen to invest and create a world class, not for profit university in India that can bring in best in class education in liberal arts and humanities. My family supports my decision that 75% of our wealth which we gain as economic benefit, should be returned to society.”
Company sources said the plans for charity were work in progress, and more details would be announced in the near future. Agarwal joins several leaders of Indian industry who have pledged considerable sums of money for charitable activities.
In 2013, Azim Premji, chairman of Bangalore-based software exporter Wipro Ltd, became the first Indian to join the Giving Pledge programme, which seeks to encourage the world’s wealthiest people to give away half their wealth to charity.
The programme was founded by Microsoft founder and the world's richest man Bill Gates, who is worth $76 billion, and Berkshire Hathaway chairman Warren Buffett, the world’s 3rd-richest person with personal wealth of $67.3 billion, according to Forbes. Agarwal said Gates and his wife, Melinda, discussed their philanthropic causes with him in Seattle last summer. “After that, I had a meeting with my family and we decided to donate 75% of our wealth,” he said.