Making, giving money similar tasks to me: Bill Gates (Lead)

March 24th, 2011 - 7:49 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, March 24 (IANS) Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has created enough wealth to rank him the second richest person in the world with a net worth of $55 billion, and he sees little difference in his present vocation of giving it away in philanthropy.

“Giving and making money has a lot of similarities,” Gates told a press conference here on his health initiative in India that he addressed jointly with Science and Technology Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal.

“In Microsoft, we were hiring talented engineers,” he said, adding: “At the foundation, it is similar. My Microsoft experience has prepared me well for this foundation work — running the foundation is a lot like running a software innovation company.”

Gates said instead of engineers, he was hiring able healthcare experts and scientists.

Along with the legendary investor Warren Buffett, and wife Milinda, Gates arrived in the Indian capital Thursday morning to a packed schedule, which mainly concentrates on their charitable efforts.

The 50-year-old first-generation entrepreneur said his non-profit Bill and Milinda Gates Founation was focusing on finding cures for diseases which did not have much funding for research, but were critical for poor and developing countries.

“The amount of grants for diabetes and heart diseases are more than euro 500. It has not been our focus,” he said. “We have focused on communicable diseases like AIDS, TB where there is almost no research because there is no market,” he added.

“These are the primary diseases in the developing countries.”

Asked about his experience with the AIDS programme in India funded by his foundation, Gates said it was a grand success. “Avahan has been a phenomenal success. We know it will take a lot of years. Yet, programmes with communities have been very successful.”

The Gates arrived here Thursday from Bihar, where they reviewed the progress of their non-profit foundation’s health initiatives, while 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.

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