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NRI billionaire pledges a chunk of his wealth for child welfare


NEW DELHI: Mining baron Anil Agarwal, who has pledged 75 per cent of his family wealth for the larger society, has said a chunk of it will go to nurturing over 7.5 crore underprivileged children below the poverty line.

The NRI billionaire Agarwal, who controls London-listed Vedanta Resources, had a net worth of $2.4 billion as on July 1, 2017, according to the US magazine Forbes.

"I strongly believe that we have a responsibility to give back to society from where we take. Nurturing underprivileged children is close to my heart. I have already pledged 75 per cent of my family wealth to society and a good chunk will go to uplifting children," Agarwal told PTI in an interview.

Agarwal is ranked 603rd on the world's billionaire list and is the 63rd richest Indian, as per the Forbes magazine.

"My aim is to give back to society from where we have got it all. I am keen to invest in India's human resource. We have already started a unique initiative of 'Nand Ghars', in which Vedanta is investing Rs 400 crore to create 4,000 Nand Ghars pan India," Agarwal said.

The project, in association with the government, aims at strengthening the foundation of children below the age of seven years, their nutrition, health and education.

The Vedanta chief said that initially, plans are to nourish nearly 7.5 crore underprivileged children living in remote rural areas, who are below seven years and in need of proper nutrition, healthcare and education. Later, if need be, more children will be brought under its ambit.

"My primary focus is to start at the grassroots level with the holistic development of children and women, who form the future of our nation and Nand Ghar is re-imagination of Anganwadis," he said.

He added that the project that addresses issues relating to pre-primary education, healthcare, nutrition for children and economic empowerment for women in rural India has been designed in partnership with the Ministry of Women and Child Development.

These Nand Ghars have clean toilets, safe drinking water and electricity through solar panels and various education and recreation facilities.

Agarwal in 2014 made the announcement to pledge 75 per cent of his family wealth to society at an event at the London Stock Exchange to mark a decade of his company's premium listing.

Agarwal has recently bought a 12 per cent stake in London-listed miner Anglo American for $2.4 billion through his family holding firm, financing the purchase through bonds. He has to his credit secured all approvals for the merger of Vedanta into cash-rich, oil and gas firm Cairn India after sweetening the terms for minority investors.

Vedanta Ltd is the world's sixth-largest diversified natural resources powerhouse post Cairn-Vedanta merger, achieving a market capitalisation of $14 billion.

Its operations span across India, Sri Lanka, Zambia, Namibia, South Africa, Liberia, Ireland and Australia.

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