Gates, Buffet in Indian capital with their ‘Giving Pledge’

March 24th, 2011 - 12:17 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, March 24 (IANS) Two of the world’s richest people, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and legendary investor Warren Buffett, arrived in the Indian capital Thursday to a packed schedule that mainly concentrates on their philanthropic efforts.

While Gates, along with his wife Melinda arrived here from Bihar, where they reviewed the progress of their non-profit foundation’s health initiatives, their mentor Buffett, on his maiden visit to India, landed from Bangalore after a series of meetings.

Their visits, though, have one common thread: Getting India’s rich to pledge a decent portion of their wealth toward philanthropy on the lines of what they have themselves done. Last year, they had undertaken a visit to China with the same objective.

“We are not here to pressure anybody. Everybody has his or her own understanding of philanthropy,” Buffett had said in Bangalore Wednesday. “We will be talking to Indian billionaires about our philanthropic activities and find out what they are doing.”

The two billionaires also have coined a phrase for this initiative — Giving Pledge — and hope to get a keen ear from not just the 50 Indians figuring in the latest world’s rich list of Forbes magazine but other wealthy people as well.

The Forbes list has placed Gates, 55, the second on its list with a net worth of $56 billion, while Buffett, 80, was ranked next with $50 billion.

In the capital, Buffett is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and some of his cabinet colleagues later Thursday, apart from addressing policy holders of insurance schemes launched by the $60-billion financial services firm Berkshire Hathway.

Among their engagements, the Gates are scheduled to share their thoughts on creating the right ecosystem to address public health concerns at an event to be attended by Science and Technology Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal and Communications Minister Kapil Sibal.

The Gates and Buffett also also scheduled to host an exclusive buffet dinner Thursday to woo people towards philanthropy.

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