With Gandhi as guide, th­ese In­di­ans are learn­ing to give half their wealth

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times Nation - Namita De­v­i­dayal Di­pak.Dash @times­group.com

Does kind­ness show in how much you give? In a coun­try with bru­tal lev­els of in­equity, many are rais­ing that ques­tion — and an­swer­ing it with a pledge to com­mit half their wealth to char­i­ta­ble causes of their choice, ei­ther in their life­time or through their will.

It all started a year ago when Girish Ba­tra, a Ban­ga­lore busi­ness­man who runs a start-up in­cu­ba­tor, had a small epiphany: that In­dia is not just a na­tion of im­pov­er­ished peo­ple, but of im­pov­er­ished givers. Hav­ing es­tab­lished a com­fort­able life, and ed­u­cated his son, he and his wife Tanu, a yoga teacher, started vol­un­teer­ing. “We be­gan to re­alise that so much needs to be done and so few are do­ing it. Our so­ci­ety is a strug­gling so­ci­ety, but the mind­set of the rich is also that of a strug­gler — I want more, more.” He de­cided to cre­ate a small move­ment to give back.

A few spir­ited con­ver­sa­tions later, six like-minded peo­ple came to­gether to pledge half their wealth. Since then, more than 30 peo­ple have joined #liv­ingmypromi­se. They in­clude an ac­tor, a pub­lic re­la­tions con­sul­tant, some techies, state gov­ern­ment em­ploy­ees and a sex­ual health ed­u­ca­tor. Liv­ingmypromi­se.org lists the pledgees and the think­ing be­hind their de­ci­sion, many of which have a Gand­hian un­der­tone. “Life has been kind to me, I owe it to life to be kind in re­turn,” says Rama Arya, who de­scribes her­self as a min­i­mal­ist. “Life is up and down for all of us. Yet many of us have the lux­ury of se­cu­rity. We have a safety net — know­ing no mat­ter how bad things get, we will be ok. And then there are mil­lions who don’t have that,” says Re­vati Sharma Singh, artist and moun­tain lover.

Yo­gesh Par­mar, a be­havioural sci­en­tist, says, “In my grow­ing up years, money was hard to come by, which gave me chance to de­velop an in­ti­mate un­der­stand­ing of what money can en­able and what a lack of it can con­strain.” Ac­tor Rahul Bose, who aljoined the pledge, says,

so “The fun­da­men­tal ques­tion is: how much is enough? How much do you re­ally need to keep you and your loved ones pro­vided for and happy for their life­times?” he says. “The an­swer, if peo­ple are hon­est with them­selves, is: sur­pris­ingly much less money than I make or am want­ing to make. Once this re­al­i­sa­tion has been reached, it be­comes ter­rif­i­cally easy to give the rest to those who need it more than us.”

Liv­ingmypromi­se is not an or­gan­i­sa­tion but a com­mu­nity. There is no su­per­vi­sion, nor guide­lines. The move­ment is premised on the Giv­ing Pledge started by Bill Gates and War­ren Buf­fet in 2010. It is an up­per mid­dle class ver­sion, per­haps democratis­ing an ini­tia­tive where the re­ally rich have failed to de­liver. In­deed, fig­ures cited

The fun­da­men­tal ques­tion is: how much is enough? How much do you re­ally need to keep you and your loved ones pro­vided for and happy for their life­times. The an­swer, if peo­ple are hon­est with them­selves, is: sur­pris­ingly much less money than I make

RAHUL BOSE |

in the In­dia Phi­lan­thropy Re­port 2019 sug­gest that the na­tion’s wealth­i­est do not have char­ity on their mind. A break­down of pri­vate donor con­tri­bu­tions re­veals that while large do­na­tions by ul­tra-high net worth in­di­vid­u­als (those hav­ing as­sets over Rs 25 crore) com­pose 55% of in­di­vid­ual phi­lan­thropist fund­ing, about 80% of this fig­ure re­sults from Azim Premji’s do­na­tions to his phil­an­thropic or­gan­i­sa­tion, APPI. Take out that con­tri­bu­tion across the years, and the seg­ment has seen a 4% de­crease. “This is par­tic­u­larly prob­lem­atic, given that UHNI house­holds have grown at a rate of 12% over the past five years and are ex­pected to dou­ble in both vol­ume and wealth from 1,60,600 house­holds with Rs1,53,000 crore com­bined net worth in 2017 to 3,30,400 house­holds with Rs3,52,000 crore com­bined net worth in 2022,” the re­port states.

An­other study, cited in re­port sug­gested that only 40% of re­spon­dents planned to “in­crease the scale and im­pact of their giv­ing” as their phil­an­thropic goal­post for 2020.

A re­port on ‘ev­ery­day giv­ing’ by Sattva, an or­gan­i­sa­tion com­mit­ted to so­cial im­pact, noted that in con­trast with other prom­i­nent so­cial economies like the US and China, 90% of In­dia’s ev­ery­day giv­ing com­prises in­for­mal giv­ing to re­li­gion and com­mu­nity. In­dia’s ev­ery­day givers are mo­ti­vated by four trig­gers: con­ve­nience, ur­gency, com­mu­nity and im­pact. Givers pre­fer to en­gage with so­cial causes per­son­ally but are im­peded in their giv­ing by lack of in­for­ma­tion on re­li­able so­cial pur­pose or­gan­i­sa­tions, rel­e­vant av­enues for giv­ing, and reg­u­la­tory bar­ri­ers, it states.

“If each of us could help solve prob­lems fac­ing so­ci­ety around us with money and time we have, we feel it would ful­fil our­selves far more than any mind­less con­sump­tion,” says Amit Chan­dra, chair­man of Bain Cap­i­tal In­dia. “Ar­chana (his wife) and I have been on that jour­ney for some time and our giv­ing is av­er­ag­ing over 75% of our net in­come, which we hope to keep in­creas­ing over time.” Tamil Nadu | Haryana | Gu­jarat

Mi­zo­ram | Da­man & Diu | Sikkim

Ped­da­palli (Te­lan­gana) | Farid­abad | Re­wari (both in Haryana) cit­i­zens re­ported suf­fi­cient ar­range­ments in vil­lage to man­age liq­uid waste dis­tricts re­ported es­tab­lish­ing

ODF Sus­tain­abil­ity Cell New Delhi: Ped­da­palli in Te­lan­gana has jumped two places in the an­nual san­i­ta­tion sur­vey to be­come the clean­est dis­trict re­plac­ing Satara in Ma­ha­rash­tra. How­ever, the most re­mark­able im­prove­ment was recorded by Farid­abad which jumped to the sec­ond rank in the this year’s ru­ral swach­hta sur­vey find­ings from a lowly 71 a year back. Re­wari, again from Haryana, was placed third in the sur­vey which cov­ered 690 dis­tricts in the coun­try.

The drink­ing wa­ter and san­i­ta­tion depart­ment on Wed­nes­day shared only the high­lights of sur­vey find­reported suf­fi­cient ar­range­ments in vil­lage to man­age solid waste dis­tricts re­ported con­struc­tion of com­mu­nity toi­lets in SC/ ST bastis

ings and sources said the de­tailed re­port of all dis­tricts will be out soon. Among larger states, Tamil Nadu has topped the list from 11th po­si­tion in 2018. Haryana and Gu­jarat slipped to sec­ond and third po­si­tions re­spec­tively, each a rank lower than their 2018 per­for­mance.

This time the Swach­hta Sur­vey was car­ried out in 17,200 vil­lages in th­ese 690 dis­tricts and the ranks were al­lo­cated based on quan­ti­ta­tive and qual­i­ta­tive san­i­ta­tion (swach­hta) pa­ram­e­ters, which in­cluded feed­back from the peo­ple, di­rect ob­ser­va­tion by third party as­ses­sors and ser­vice level progress by the lo­cal ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Full re­port on www.toi.in An Air In­dia Air­bus A320 re­ceived a new paint job in New Delhi on Wed­nes­day to mark the 150th birth an­niver­sary of Ma­hatma Gandhi. The air­line has de­cided to paint Gandhi’s pic­ture on tails of each type of air­craft in its fleet by mid-Oc­to­ber

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