India’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani has topped the ‘Hurun Indian Philanthropy List 2018’ with a contribution of Rs 437 crores in a year making him the most generous philanthropist. The second place has been secured by Ajay Piramal of Piramal Group with a donation of Rs. 200 crores. The list has been compiled by the China-run Hurun Research Institute. It has ranked individuals from India who have donated Rs. 10 crores or more from October 1, 2017, to September 30, 2018. With an average of Rs. 40 crore donation per person in the list consisting of 39 individuals, the total Indian philanthropy stands at Rs 1,560 crores for the above said period.
The most preferred cause for donation is the education sector. It is followed by the healthcare getting 12 percent and rural development 10 percent of the total amount. Anas Rahman Junaid, Managing Director and Chief Researcher, Hurun Report India, said, “The philanthropic landscape of India is changing and evolving because of the active participation and contribution of the top Indian entrepreneurs. Some of the most amazing global wealth creation stories of this century will be from India. Consequently, in the next 5-10 years, I expect to see an exponential increase in active philanthropy emanating from India.” It is, therefore, clear that the culture of philanthropy is evolving in India in a big way. What is particularly heartening is that there is considerable philanthropy from the ultra-rich sections of the society.
As far as India’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani is concerned, his corporate social responsibility (CSR) predominantly focuses on education. It is channelised through the Reliance Foundation, which aims to promote inclusive growth in India. Apart from this sector, he has also contributed in a big way towards social, rural development and healthcare. As per Barclays Hurun India Rich List for 2018 that was announced in September last year, Mukesh Ambani continues to be the ‘richest Indian’ for the seventh year with a net worth of Rs 3,71,000 crore as on July 31, 2018.
However, this is not for the first time that generous philanthropy on the part of Reliance Foundation has come to light. Last year, Kerala had been hit by devastating floods. At that time, Reliance Foundation (RF) Chairperson, Nita M. Ambani had announced a donation of Rs. 21 crores towards the Kerala Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund, besides relief materials worth around Rs 50 crore. At that time, the Foundation had launched a multi-pronged rescue, relief and rehabilitation programme for the state of Kerala and the Reliance Foundation head at that time had said, “We feel duty bound as fellow citizens and as a responsible corporate foundation to fully support the efforts in the state, stand firmly with the people of Kerala in this hour of need.” In 2017, when Mukesh Ambani turned 60, he gave his birthday celebrations a miss and chose to make a donation of Rs. 75.5 lakh instead. The donation was made to a hospital run by the Shirdi Saibaba Sansthan Trust towards the purchase of medical equipment and other amenities with a view to help patients across the state of Maharashtra.
Mukesh Ambani and Reliance Foundation deserve to be applauded for their philanthropic interests. Mukesh Ambani, the richest Indian, very well understands his responsibility and duty towards the society at large and this explains the generous contribution made by him.