Nandan Nilekani to donate $38.5 mn to alma mater IIT Bombay

By Saritha Rai

Billionaire Infosys Ltd. co-founder Nandan Nilekani will donate $38.5 million to his alma mater Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, making one of the largest such gifts by an alumnus of an educational institution in the country.


The grant takes the technologist’s total donations to the school to 4 billion rupees ($49 million) and is intended to foster research in emerging areas while supporting a deep-tech startup ecosystem, Nilekani’s office announced on Tuesday after a memorandum signing by the two parties.

Nilekani, who shot to prominence after founding the IT services pioneer Infosys, in 1973 joined what’s become known as the country’s pre-eminent engineering and technology learning institution. He helped establish Infosys in 1981, a few summers after graduating from what’s often called India’s MIT.

“It’s a tribute to the place that has given me so much and a commitment to the students who will shape our world tomorrow,” Nilekani, now Infosys’s chairman, said in the announcement.

Nilekani and his peers in India’s $245 billion IT outsourcing industry have leaned toward education in their philanthropic efforts. In 2019, billionaire Azim Premji of Wipro Ltd. donated company shares worth billions of dollars to his education-focused charitable arm, which runs the Premji University. Narayana Murthy, another Infosys co-founder, donated over $5 million to Harvard University toward the study of India’s literary heritage. And Shiv Nadar, founder of HCL Ltd., donated more than $12 million to a foundation that backs education initiatives.

IIT Bombay intends to set up centers to help startups in areas such as artificial intelligence, green energy and quantum computing, according to Tuesday’s announcement. It aims to raise $500 million over the next five years including from alumni, it said.

First Published: Jun 20 2023 | 6:49 AM IST

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