HYDERABAD: In an unprecedented move, Grandhi Mallikarjuna Rao, promoter, GMR Group, on Tuesday announced an ‘irrevocable pledge’ to donate his entire stake in the company amounting to $340 million (Rs 1,540 cr) for philanthropy. Rao’s contribution of personal wealth in favour of GMR Varalakshmi Foundation, an in-house charitable organisation, comes ne
xt to Azim Premji’s $2 billion (Rs 8,846 crore) towards education last year.
Grandhi Mallikarjuna Rao, founder of Bangalore-based infrastructure firm GMR Group, has set aside for philanthropy, at a time when two American icons of ‘giving’ – Warren Buffet and Bill Gates – are touring India to encourage a culture of philanthropy among the rich.
“GM Rao has pledged his irrevocable commitment to create an endowment worth $340 million (Rs1,540 crore) in favour of the GMR Varalakshmi Foundation, for charitable activities to serve the needs of the under-served sections of society,” a company statement said.
“From initial years in business, I have always believed that we have a responsibility to give back to society in which we thrive and owe our success to,” Rao said on the occasion.
“It has been a long journey and a most satisfying one to see one’s vision of building an institution in perpetuity coming to fruition,” he said on the margins of signing the legal documents pertaining to the family constitution.
Terming the charitable decision even more satisfying than winning the bid for the New Delhi international airport T-3 project, Rao said he would like to thank all those who had made it possible.”I deem it as god’s greatness who has given my family and me this opportunity to give back to society,” Rao said.
According to GMR, the endowment is equivalent to Rao’s personal share of his businesses.
Business magazine Forbes estimates Rao’s net worth to be around $2.6 billion.
In comparison, Gates has a net worth of $56 billion, while Buffett is worth $50 billion – the second- and third-richest, respectively in the world.
GMR Varalakshmi Foundation is the corporate social responsibility (CSR) arm of the Group and its mandate is to develop social infrastructure and enhance the quality of life in communities in locations where the group companies do business.The GMR Varalakshmi Foundation is the CSR arm of the GMR Group and has presence in 22 locations in India and abroad.
In December, Azim Premji, chairman of country’s third-largest software exporter Wipro Ltd, transferred 213 million shares, then worth around Rs 8,800crore, to philanthropic trust Azim Premji Trustee Co, which would use the dividend earned on the shares for charitable work.
Nearly six months before that, in June, Shiv Nadar, the founder of HCL Technologies, India’s fifth-largest IT services company, donated Rs 580 crore to a foundation that bears his name for focusing on educational initiatives.
GMR’s Rao said his action was in keeping with the group’s philosophy of keeping nation building before any other consideration.
Tags: Philanthropy in India CSR of GMR Philanthropy of GM Rao Charitable GMR GroupCorporate Social Responsibility (CSR) GMR Varalakshmi Foundation Bill Gates Warren Buffett