By Rajan Narayan
It is Shiv Nadar of HCL Technology who is the biggest contributor to charitable trusts in the country. He is matched by the wife of Nandan Nilekani, Rohini Nilekani, who contributed over Rs5 crore for charity last year.
THE biggest corporate giver in the country is not Gautam Adani, who once claimed that he is the richest person in the country. It is Shiv Nadar of HCL Technology, the hardware computer manufacturer. The second highest charitable person is interestingly a woman, namely Rohini Nilekani – it is she who is the second most charitable person in the country, having contributed over Rs23 crore per day last year.
The second highest whale of a corporate giver is not Tata Charitable Trust, identified with giving, nor is it Infosys Charitable Trust. The Tata Charitable Trust has a regular supply of funds from the Tata Group because it owns 37% shares in the Tata group. This is the only instance of a large company, the Tatas giving shares of its own trust on a regular basis, so unlike other corporate funding of charity. The Tata Trust have regular sources of funds from the Tata Group of Companies.
However, the late industrialist JRD Tata was a far much more generous contributor to charities than Ratan Tata. It was Tata Group which started some of the major educational institutions in the country. The Pioneer Institute of Science in Bengaluru was funded by the Tatas. The Tata Group has also funded the Tata Social Science Institute in Chembur in Mumbai which does pioneering work in the social sector areas.
Besides the Tatas and Shiv Nadar, Wipro has the largest number of charities. The contribution of Infosys diminished after the retirement of Narayan Murthy from chairmanship of Infosys. However, a significant percentage of the shareholdings is held by Infosys. The company also make regular contributions to the Infosys Charitable Foundations of which Sudha Murthy continues to be the chairperson.
EDUCATION & WOMEN
THE Shiv Nadar Charitable foundation headed by his wife Kiran Nadar, basically concentrates on education and empowerment of women. The Infosys Foundation similarly also contributes towards various educational initiatives taken by the private sector. There are major trusts which contribute significantly towards medical help and women’s empowerment. The highest individual contribution is again from Shiv Nadar followed interestingly, by Rohini Nilekani. Rohini Nilekani is one of the largest women contributors. For many years she was the only contributor on the list. Now several women who contribute to charitable causes like the Thermax family of Anu Aga.
At the international level there is no competition yet for Bill Gates. Bill and Melinda Gates of Microsoft who also bring out Apple phones have contributed most of their income to charity. Bill Gates makes regular contributions from the earnings of Microsoft to charity. Internationally, it is mandated that you make a huge contribution to charity.
INTERESTINGLY, in the context of the ongoing Israeli conflict the Jews are among the biggest communities to contribute towards charity. Many major corporate houses of John D Rockefeller and Rochchilde are controlled by Jewish families. They have a tradition of contributing generously to charity.
Interestingly, the owner of the Cadbury brand, Mondelez International, is also amongst the biggest contributors to charity internationally. Many of India’s health programs like the drive to eliminate polio was entirely founded by Bill and Melinda Gates. Bill and Melinda separated after there were reports that Bill Gates was involved in patronizing young girls who were driven into prostitution.
There are many foundations funding educational institutions like Harvard and Oxford. Ironically, Mukesh Ambani has made major contributions to Stanford University. Mukesh and Dattaraj Salgaocar studied in Stanford, considered the major university in the United States which offers management courses. There are also other businessman who contribute to the educational trust of the university they pass out of.
Surprisingly, the contributions to the IITs are much lower than the contributions by Indian businessman to foreign universities in which they have studied. An exception is the IIT Bombay which gets huge contributions from Indian businessmen who passed out from these institutions. Among the biggest donors to IIT Bombay is Nandan Nilekani, who contributed Rs400 crore to set up a world-class education institution in Bombay IIT.
The Indian IITs in management have received major contributions from the Sarabhai foundation. It was Vikram Sarabhai who started the first management institute in Ahmadabad for his girlfriend, who had a doctorate from Harvard, and felt that she was wasting her time in Ahmadabad. So very often the reason for contributing to charitable institutions or funding higher education can be personal and not just corporate charity.
THE Indian government has made it mandatory for all corporates to contribute 2.5% of their earnings to charity. The contribution to charity exempted from tax. There are some doubts in this context. We think Income-Tax authorities wanted to tax the Tata Charitable Trust on their dividend income. This, however, was settled in favor of the Tatas. Indian corporates limit themselves to the mandatory 2.5%.
There are very few Indian corporations which write out for a public cause. Indian corporates however are the largest funders to political parties. Understandably, the BJP is the biggest beneficiary. The Election Commission even encourages setting up of issue election bonds. These election bonds are used by corporates to fund political parties. The Supreme Court recently insisted that the issue of corporate election bonds should be made public and must be transparent. This is important that the public should know who has funded which party the most.
The Congress has a steady list of corporate funds which keep it alive and kicking. Whenever a State or Central election comes there is a heavy flow of funds from the corporate sector to the political parties. Besides the Congress and the BJP the other major beneficiaries of corporate funding is the Nationalist Congress party (NCP) headed by Sharad Pawar. This is because of Sharad Pawar’s personal contacts than the success of the NCP in winning elections.
In Goa, there are no corporate givers. The biggest charitable contributions are made by Nana Bandekar of the NRB group. Much of the NRB funds go towards creating long-term assets. The Vasco municipality in which vicinity Nana Bandekar stays is the biggest beneficiary of corporate funding by Nana Bandekar.
Besides the NRB group, Dattaraj Salgaocar of the VM Salgaocar Corporation is the major contributor to charitable institutions. It is the Salgaocar group which set up the Salgaocar Law College e in Miramar Panaji. The Salgaocar group also has the Sunaparanta Goa, Centre for the Arts which supports social growth. Sunaparanta has played a major role in the social and cultural life of Goa.
BANDEKARS, SALGAOCARS, DEMPOS
SUNAPARANTA had funded my book on the Opinion Poll titled “Triumph of Secularism.” Besides, the Bandekars, Salgaocars, the Dempos are notable contributors for the growth of sports and sports persons in Goa. The Dempo Group have sports ambassadors in various sports such as tennis. It also assists chess players. The Dempo Groups started the first higher secondary school and college in Goa. The Dempo Group runs the Dempo College of Arts & Science and the Dempo HSSC in Panaji.
All the big mining groups in Goa are heavily involved in promoting football. Football is the sport of Goa. Goa is nowhere on the cricket map but has four of the top professional football teams like FC Goa. It is also home to Sesa Goa Academy which trains aspiring footballers. Shivanand Salgaocar closed down the Salgaocar Sports Club which was sponsored by his father before Liberation. The club, however, was revived by Dattaraj Salgaocar and is called Salgaocar SC. Salgaocar Football Club is most successful as it won the Federation Cup and the Duran Cup, all the trophies in football.
However, the National Football League has taken a beating with the arrival of professional football introduced by the Ambanis. Indeed, Nita Ambani is the chairperson of the National Football League. Professional leagues in football offered a great chance to Indian players to make it big. It also has become the window for the rest of the foreign players to showcase their talents in Goa.
All of us need to contribute our share of earnings to charity. One of the causes that deserves to taken up is housing or caregiving to senior citizens. Most senior citizens are left to the mercy of paid mercenary attendants in hospitals or homes. Many Goans who have been successful abroad and working in the Gulf countries tend to leave their aging parents to caretakers or nursing attendants.
There are many Goan homes with senior citizens who are so lonely that they tend to drink to solve their emotional loneliness. Goa urgently needs homes for seniors at reasonable prices or rents or based on their earnings from bank FDs or pensions. Industrial companies should subsidize old age homes providing shelter and taking care of seniors at reasonable prices.