India’s richest man tops many lists but not the one with philanthropists

Spending where it matters.
Spending where it matters.
Image: REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas
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Mukesh Ambani tops many coveted rankings. He’s Asia’s richest man, India’s wealthiest person by a mile, the chairman of the company that owns the largest oil refinery (pdf) on Earth, and owner of the world’s largest telecom operator.

But when it comes to philanthropy, Ambani lags some billionaires—also by a mile.

The 63-year old billionaire is at the third spot on the Hurun India and EdelGive India Philanthropy List 2020, which was released yesterday (Nov. 10). Ambani lagged legendary philanthropist Azim Premji, founder-chairman of IT services firm Wipro, and Shiv Nadar, founder and chairman of HCL Technologies.

EdelGive Hurun India Philanthropy List tracks donations measured by the value of an individual’s cash or cash equivalents from April 2019 to March 31, 2020. This year’s list features individuals who have donated Rs5 crore ($673,514) or more during the period under review.

Education was the primary cause that several of the top philanthropists in India contributed towards. “The preferred cause of India’s top philanthropists has been education, although poverty alleviation has grown dramatically to become the second most popular cause this year,” said Anas Rahman Junaid, MD and Chief Researcher of Hurun India.

This year’s list had 28 new entrants, including Infosys co-founder and former CEO SD Shibulal with a donation of Rs32 crore, and Amit and Archana Chandra of ATE Chandra Foundation who donated Rs27 crore.

Flipkart co-founder and former CEO Binny Bansal (37) was the only person under the age of 40 on the list.