Bharti Mittal family pledges Rs7,000 cr to charity

Sunil Bharti Mittal, chairman of Bharti Airtel, the country's largest telecom company, has pledged 10 per cent of his family wealth, amounting to Rs7,000 crore to support philanthropic activities of the Bharti Foundation.

The move comes days after Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani and wife Rohini pledged to donate 50 per cent of their wealth under `The Giving Pledge' movement initiated by Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Melinda Gates.

Earlier Indian billionaires like Wipro chairman Azim Premji, Biocon chairperson Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, and Sobha Group chairman PNC Menon had also committed half of their wealth to philanthropy.

Speaking at a conference, Sunil Mittal, founder-chairman of Bharti Enterprises, said he has committed three per cent of the Mittal family's stake in Bharti Airtel. He said the family is planning to set up Satya Bharti University for Science and Technology to offer 'free education' to underprivileged youth from economically weaker sections of the society.

"The University will have a strong focus on future technologies like AI, Robotics, AR/VR, IoT, in addition to offering degrees in electrical and electronics engineering and management. It will be a non-profit centre of excellence and will offer free education to a large number of deserving youth from economically weaker sections. It will also promote and fund advanced research with global linkages. It intends to add leading global industry partners, i.e. Facebook, Google, Apple, Microsoft and SoftBank among others," Bharti Foundation said in a release.

The university, expected to come up in North India, will commence its first academic session in 2021. The new age university will focus on science and technology, especially areas like Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, and robotics, among others.

Most of the wealth pledged for charity will go towards setting up the new university project, Mittal said, adding that talks were on to finalise the land for the project.

The university, once fully developed over a period of time, will have capacity to impart education to 10,000 students, he added.

Bharti Foundation had earlier supported the creation of Bharti School of Telecommunication Technology and Management at IIT Delhi, Bharti Centre for Communication at IIT Mumbai and Bharti Institute of Public Policy at ISB Mohali.