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Azim Premji ( ) (born July 24, 1945), is an Indian engineer and businessman. He is the Chairman of Wipro, one of the largest software companies in India. Azim Premji was rated the richest person in the country from 1999 to 2005 as per Forbes.His wealth in 2006 was estimated at US$14.8 Billion which places him as the fifth richest Indian.

Personal life

Premji was born in Bombay (now Mumbai), India, to a Gujarati Muslim family. His father M. H. Premji owned the Western India Vegetable Product Company (which later became Wipro Ltd.) which made hydrogenated vegetable oils and fats. While he completed his initial education at St. Mary's School, Mumbai, Premji was forced to leave his studies in electrical engineering from Stanford Universitymarker, California, USA at the age of 21 to take over the family business when his father suddenly died in 1966.

Premji is married to Yasmeen, the couple have two children, Rishad and Tariq. Rishad is married to Aditi.

Premji is known for his modesty and frugality in spite of his wealth. He drives a Toyota Corolla and flies economy class, prefers to stay in company guest house rather than luxury hotels and even served food on paper plates at a lunch honouring his son's wedding.

Honours and Awards

Premji has been recognized by Business Week as one of the Greatest Entrepreneurs of All Time for his vision and leadership that has been responsible for Wipro emerging as one of the world’s fastest growing companies.

In 2000, he was conferred an honorary doctorate by the Manipal Academy of Higher Education.

He was also declared the Businessman of the Year 2000 by Business India

He is featured in the Business Weeks all-time top 30 entrepreneurs of the world in 2007 .

He is a member of the Prime Minister's Advisory Committee for Information Technology in Indiamarker.

In 2005, he was honoured by the Government of India with a Padma Bhushan, the third-highest civilian award in India.

As on October 6, 2007, he was the 5th richest Indian, with a net worth of $13.6 billion.

He was awarded a Doctor of Letters (D.Litt.), an honorary degree , from the Aligarh Muslim University on the 18th of June, 2008 on the occasion of 58th Convocation Ceremony of the University.

Azim Premji Foundation

The Azim Premji Foundation says it "Aims at making a tangible impact on identified social issues by working in active partnership with the Government and other related sectors of society". The Foundation was set up with financial resources contributed by Azim Premji.

Programmes of the Azim Premji Foundation focus on "creating effective and scalable models that significantly improve the quality of learning in the school and ensure satisfactory ownership by the community in the management of the school". Azim Premji Foundation says it "dedicates itself to the cause of Universalization of Elementary Education in India" .The organisation has over the years been instrumental in improving the quality of general education, particularly in rural schools .

Citing a technology initiative, the Foundation reported: "Think of a single PC with three display terminals, three keyboards and three 'mouses', which can be simultaneously used as if they are three independent computers" .

Five new titles of educational CDs for Indian schools were produced earlier in 2005. They are:
  • Friendly Animals and Journey on the Clouds (English)
  • Swatantra Divas
  • Fun with Chinchoo in Mathematics
  • Khel-Mel (Hindi), released in February 2005.
With these, the total number of master titles available is 70 .

There are now 68 titles in Karnatakamarker, 42 for Andhra Pradeshmarker, 35 for Tamil Nadumarker and Pondicherrymarker, 18 for Urdu medium schools, six for Orissamarker, 14 for Gujaratmarker, 3 for Punjabmarker and 1 for Keralamarker.

This Foundation is also involved in computer-based assessment in Andhra Pradesh (50,000 students took part in early 2005), a learning guarantee programme, and a policy planning unit in Karnatakamarker.

See also



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