BENGALURU: Infosys Foundation, the philanthropic arm of India’s second-largest software exporter Infosys, has started backing healthcare and education projects in the North-eastern part of the country, and plans to expand to more remote parts of the country armed with a higher corporate social responsibility (CSR) budget, said Sudha Murty who runs the foundation.
InfosysNSE 0.76 % Foundation, which was started in 1996, has a CSR budget of about Rs 269 crore for the 2015-16 financial year, up from the Rs 254 crore the company spent in the last fiscal. A significant chunk of this year’s budget has been allocated towards rural development and healthcare, said Murty, the wife of Infosys Founder NR Narayana Murthy.
There are so many problems in our country. Philanthropy in Western countries is different from philanthropy in India. We have a complex tapestry -it could be HIV AIDS, it could be sex workers, it could be education, it could be hunger, malnutrition, drinking water problems, etc. Plus we have several natural calamities added to this. We work in different areas, but touching everything is not possible, Murty, 65, said in an interview, adding that the foundation plans to be more selective about which problems it wants to tackle first.
Since its inception, the Bengaluru-based foundation has spent roughly Rs 450 crore, and a large chunk of it was spent over the better part of the last couple of years after the company’s law came into effect and mandated companies to allocate 2 percent of their overall profits towards CSR activities.
When we started out, I kept wondering, what are the rules of philanthropy? And it turns out that there are rules for it.And nobody could talk about that. There is no set formula for this -because anything with a human being cannot have a formula. And Infosys at that time also did not know what to do. So they gave a small amount of money and we started our journey. And it’s been two decades since then. Now, I know what is philanthropy, what is the exit policy, who we should help, etc. Now I look at everything from a different angle. So, I look at life in a different way,” said Murty who previously had a stint with the Tata Group.
The foundation’s next big ambitious project will be in Gulbarga in Northern Karnataka where it is helping build as many as 13,000 public toilets, while also helping build 250-odd such toilets in Bhubaneshwar.