Azim Premji, Chairman, Azim Premji Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the IT services to soaps company Wipro Ltd., announced on Monday that he had transferred 295.5 million shares “controlled” by him — valued at Rs. 12,300 crore — to the “irrevocable trust”. The transfer of the stake, representing 12 per cent of the shares issued by the company, will result in the trust’s stake in Wipro increasing to 19.93 per cent.

A statement issued by the foundation said that it would use the endowment for its “various social, not-for-profit initiatives”.

It said the increased funding would enable the “scaling up” of its activities in the next few years. The foundation, which was established in 2001, has, in partnership with several State governments, promoted access to education in rural areas. The foundation’s work is spread across Karnataka, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Pudducherry, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh.

During the last couple of years, the foundation has established the Azim Premji University in Bangalore and State-level institutions in three States and district-level institutes in seven districts.

It has also established six “demonstration schools”. In the next five years, the foundation plans to have a network of 50-60 district-level institutions and six to eight State-level institutions. Within this period the strength of faculty at the university is expected to increase to 350 and the student intake to 3,500. The overall size of the foundation’s team is expected to increase from 800 to 4,000 in this period.

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