Billionaires Host Private Meeting to Discuss Giving in India

Addressing a private gathering of forty-five of India's wealthiest individuals recently, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation co-chair Bill Gates told those in attendance to keep only what they need and to give the rest away, the Times of India reports.

Hosted by Gates and Indian billionaires Azim Premji and Ratan Tata, the four-hour meeting addressed a range of topics, from what those present could do to improve the quality of education, water, healthcare, and sanitation in the South Asian nation to the importance of collaboration. But the question of how much is enough loomed large, with the Microsoft co-founder firmly in the camp which subscribes to the idea that it is "important for all those who have succeeded in life to do philanthropy."

During the meeting a number of people in attendance discussed their efforts to address India's many entrenched social problems. They included ARGHYAM founder Rohini Nilekani, who spoke about what she had learned while working to support efforts to improve agriculture, water management, and sanitation in different regions of the country, and Ajay Piramal, chairman of Piramal Healthcare, who touched on the state of Indian women's health.

While the names of some of those in attendance were leaked to the press, the Gates Foundation released the following statement in conjunction with the meeting: "This is a private discussion of philanthropy and social service in India. It is an opportunity for a great group of philanthropists to share ideas and experiences about giving with each other. Out of respect for their privacy, we will not be sharing the names of attendees."

"Cultivate Culture of Giving, Says Bill Gates." The Times of India 06/02/2012.