GMR promoter pledges Rs1,540-crore stake to charity
23 March 2011
In a gesture that is rare in the annals of Indian corporate history, Grandhi Mallikarjuna Rao, promoter, GMR Group, yesterday announced an 'irrevocable pledge' to donate his entire stake in the company amounting to Rs1,540 crore ($340 million) towards philanthropy.
Rao's contribution from is personal wealth favouring GMR Varalakshmi Foundation, an in-house charitable organisation ranks next to Azim Premji's $2 billion (Rs 8,846 crore) towards education last year.
According to the company, Rao had signed legal documents pertaining to the family constitution yesterday. Forbes Magazine, puts Rao's personal net worth as of 10 March at $2.6 billion.
The GMR Varalakshmi Foundation ( a Section 25 not-for-profit company), forms an integral part of GMR and is a professionally-run organisation present globally across 22 locations. It is focused on provision of vocational training and sustainable livelihood to people.
Rao who figured in Forbes top 30 billionaires in the world said from his initial years in business, he had always believed that businesses had a responsibility to give back to society in which they thrive and to which they owe their success.
He said he hoped the foundation would channelise youth towards entrepreneurship, and to take up participatory, holistic development initiatives.
''Personally, it's even more satisfying than winning the bid for making India's most iconic project -- Delhi T3. I would like to thank all those who have made it possible and deem it as God's greatness who has given my family and me this opportunity to give back to society,'' Rao said in a statement.
Rao's announcement comes as Warren Buffett (the third richest individual in the world) and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates (the second richest) commence a week-long trip to India, primarily to encourage the rich to give away a portion of their wealth to charity.