Indian Billionaire Drops Honda City, Drives Secondhand Mercedes

BANGALORE: The founder of Wipro, Azim Premji is known for his simplicity and modest living. He is the first Indian to sign up for the Giving Pledge campaign by donating 8,000 crore to the cause of education and other social development in rural India, he has given more than 25 percent of his personal wealth to charity, setting an example for the other billionaires in the country.

The Chairman of Wipro prefers to fly in an economy class and owns a Honda city. Recently, Premji’s senior executives and well-wishers advised him that it is time for an upgrade as the Honda was old. He traded his modest Toyota car for a Mercedes Benz but a second-hand one from one of his employees. Besides, he also travels in autorickshaws, public buses or prefers to walk, ignores extravagant hotels and always stays at the company guesthouse, and takes food from the company canteen.

He expects his employees to be watchful about saving money wherever possible, demanding that they switch off lights when leaving the Wipro offices, and even regulating the number of toilet rolls used.  He says, "What is good for my employees is good for me".

In 2001, he founded Azim Premji Foundation, a non-profit organization, with a vision to improve the quality and equity of school education in rural areas. The organization currently functions across Karnataka, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Chattisgarh, Pondicherry, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh, in close partnership with various state governments. Apart from this ,The Azim Premji University was established under an act of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly to run programmes to develop education and development professionals, offering alternative models for educational change and also to invest in educational research to continuously stretch the boundaries of educational thinking.

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