Soap-to-software conglomerate Wipro chairman Azim Premji is transferring shares worth nearly $2 billion to set up an endowment which fund social and non-profit initiatives. The Chairman of the Azim Premji Foundation will transfer 213 million equity shares (or 8.68% stake), at current market price valued approximately at Rs 8846 crore, of Wipro Ltd to an irrevocable trust, said a statement. The transfer will be effected by 7 December 2010.

Premji, who is the second richest Indian with a personal wealth of $17 billion in 2010 (as per Forbes), would continue to control the trust and control its voting rights.

Since its inception in 2001, Azim Premji Foundation, has worked largely in rural India, often in close partnership with various State Governments, to help contribute to the improvement of quality of education.  Its programs have touched over 25,000 schools and over 2.5 million children over the years, said a release.

“We believe that good education is crucial to building a just, equitable, humane and sustainable society. We want to contribute significantly towards improvement of education in India, and through that towards building a better society. The Foundation’s significant increase in scale and its clear focus on social purposes will require a substantial long term financial commitment, which is the purpose this endowment will serve,” said Premji.

The Karnataka Government has recently approved the formation of the Azim Premji University under a special legislative act. Azim Premji also recently announced the appointment of Dileep Ranjekar and Anurag Behar as Co-CEOs of the Foundation.

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