India’s billionaires urged to give more
NEW DELHI — Billionaire philanthropists Bill Gates and Warren Buffett urged India’s tycoons to give up some of their newfound wealth to help the country’s hundreds of millions of impoverished people.
The pitch was similar to one they gave in September in China, where they had little success in sparking a charitable movement. But they were optimistic about their meeting yesterday with about 70 people representing India’s most wealthy.
“There was a positive spirit and energy,’’ Gates said.
In India, 800 million people — three-fourths of the population — live in poverty.
Gates said the meeting was meant only to inspire a continuing dialogue. He could not say whether it would lead to new charitable pledges.
India’s economy has barreled ahead with nearly 9 percent growth in recent years, making it the second-fastest-growing major economy, after China’s.
Forbes counted 65 billionaires in India this year. And there were at least 126,700 Indians with at least $1 million in 2009, according to Merrill Lynch.