Bill Gates | 2016 Will Be the Year of Financial Inclusion
Bill Gates describes himself as a technologist, business leader, and philanthropist. More recently, he was called the most generous man in the world.
According to the Forbes magazine, Bill and Melinda Gates have given away more money— over $29 billion—than anyone; they co-chair a charitable foundation.
Gates was in India recently to lend support to the new focus of the foundation in India: financial inclusion. He took some time off to speak to Mint on this and more. Edited excerpts:
Notice you are wearing a Swachh Bharat lapel pin.
We work in part with the government on sanitation, particularly measuring the quality of the toilets that they have maintained and then what we call the faecal sludge management—really, look at every city and saying how much of the sewage is being processed and how it is being picked up.
So the government gave you the lapel pin?
I was with the minister and he gave it to me.
Which minister, the prime minister?
No. The urban development minister (M. Venkaiah Naidu). But then I wore it in the meeting with the PM.
Did the PM notice it?
He may have, but we were talking of many, many things; we talked about sanitation—he’s been pushing that.
Mark Zuckerberg and his wife recently donated a huge amount to philanthropy. In some sense, you were the trendsetter in this way of giving. Do you see more people doing this? You did make a trip to India a few years back and spoke about this.
The growth of philanthropy in India is pretty fantastic. Mark and his wife Priscilla’s commitment is quite phenomenal; he is doing it at a younger age than I did, and he will get a chance to learn. He is also a good friend, we do a lot of philanthropy together, but he is going to make such a huge contribution; he is going to be such a good example to everybody else.