As we read about the world’s richest man’s now almost annual trip to India and his commitment to eradicate disease and provide support for education an obvious question to ask is where do our own billionaires stand in comparison to Mr. Gates. I think the media owes us an annual report card regarding the social commitments of our own mega-rich and well to do. And here, I am not talking about reprinting the press releases doled out by them but genuine investigative reporting regarding any difference (if any) these people have made to Indian society over and beyond their primary business.
Ironic as it might be, despite being Karna’s country it is obvious that corporate social philanthropy is not one of India’s strongest points; or for all we know it might very well be – but I’ve never read a media report that would support that notion. We’ve read stories about Mr. Mittal’s or Mr. Roy’s or Mr. Bachchan’s son’s or daughter’s wedding but now we’d like to know if Mr. Bachchan has sponsored a seat in Hindi literature in Allahabad University or if Mr. Ambani has contributed to research in Chemical Engineering in Gujrat or if Mr. Mittal is contributing to research on less polluting smelting techniques in Bihar. I guess you get the picture I am trying to portray here.
As the year nears its ends there will be a plethora of stories regarding the top 10 or bottom 10 of the year. As India continues to take its baby steps towards US style capitalism don’t you think that the public deserves to know who are the top 10 industrialists who have made a difference and then the bottom 10 who were totally callous?