Sunday, May 22, 2011

Who is more Materialistic a spiritual Country India or USA ??

It's sad Mukesh Ambani lives in such opulence: Ratan Tata

Ratan Tata
Ratan Tata said India needs people to allocate some of their enormous wealth to finding ways of mitigating the hardship that people have.
LONDON: Tata group chief Ratan Tata has said he is surprised why fellow tycoon Mukesh Ambaniwants to live in the opulence of a billion-dollar home in south Mumbai. 

"It makes me wonder why someone would do that," Tata said in an interview published on Saturday in The Times newspaper of London. "The person who lives in there should be concerned about what he sees around him and (ask) can he make a difference," Tata said when asked about Antilla(4500 Crore) for Five Member Family only, the 27-storey Ambani home on Altamount Road. "If he is not, then it is sad because Indianeeds people to allocate some of their enormous wealth to finding ways to mitigate the hardship that people have." Expressing concern about the rich-poor gap, Tata said, "We are doing so little about the disparity. We are allowing it to be there and wishing it away." 

The tycoon, who bought steel maker Corus and car manufacturer Jaguar Land Rover in 2006 and 2008 to become the biggest manufacturing employer in Britain, also questioned the work ethic of British managers, saying they did not "go the extra mile" unlike their Indian counterparts. "It's a work ethic issue. In my experience, in both Corus and JLR, nobody is willing to go the extra mile, nobody. I feel if you have come fromMumbai to have a meeting and the meeting goes on till 6pm, I would expect that you won't, at 5 o'clock, say, 'Sorry, I have my train to catch. I have to go home'." 

Stating that things were different back home, Tata added, "If you are in a crisis (in India), it means working till midnight, you would do it. The worker in JLR seems to be willing to do that; the management is not." He said earlier, JLR's entire engineering group would be empty on Friday evenings. But that had changed. "The new management team has put an end to that. They call meetings at 5 o'clock." 

Tata also spoke about having had to shift Nano's 85% installed plant from Bengal to Gujarat following Mamata Banerjee's opposition. "In the dead of night, you had to start taking tools out of that factory, build another factory, deliver a car from an interim factory; and do all this in a year. The first thing you (the JLR management) will say is, 'It can't be done, that you will need a court order or police cover.'. Yet we did it." 

His comments come as Tata Steel proposes to close part of its plant in the UK, putting at risk 1,200 jobs. 

Tata said the UK had a high level of despondency about itself. "I have a greater degree of bullishness about the UK and what it stands for. But nobody seems to want to make the effort to make the UK truly competitive or bring it back to the glory that it was. I think there is a feeling that there is no innovation—there is great innovation in the UK. There is great technology," he said. 

Tata, who is a member of British Prime Minister David Cameron's business advisory group and co-chairman of the UK-India CEO Forum, said India was lucky to have Barack Obama in the US and Cameron in the UK. "Both of them are open to ideas; they are very pragmatic in their views. Each of them feels that India is a land of some opportunity for themselves. I think he (Cameron) is doing something quite far-sighted because we really have long traditional ties with England." 

Tata was the only person outside the government to have had two private meetings with the British PM during his first three months in office.

40 Billionaires Pledge to Donate Half Their Wealth in USA

Forty wealthy families and individuals have joined Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates and billionaire investor Warren Buffett in a pledge to give at least half their wealth to charity.
Six weeks after launching a campaign to get other billionaires to donate most of their fortunes, the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. released the first list Wednesday of people who have signed what he and Gates call the "giving pledge."
Buffett decided in 2006 to give 99 percent of his fortune to charity. Then, he was worth about $44 billion. After five years of investment returns while making annual gifts to five foundations, Buffett's fortune totals nearly $46 billion.
Bill and Melinda Gates do most of their philanthropic giving through their foundation, which had assets of $33 billion as of June 30 and has made at least $22.93 billion in total grant commitments since 1994.
Buffett said he, the Gateses and others have made 70 to 80 calls to some of the nation's wealthiest individuals. The people who agreed to the pledge are from 13 states, with the most participants in California and New York.
Among those who haven't signed the pledge, some prefer to keep their philanthropy anonymous, some were not available to talk, and others were not interested, Buffett said.
"We're off to a terrific start," Buffett said.Many on the list will be asked to call others, and small dinners will be held across the country in coming months to talk about the campaign.
Buffett said he and Bill Gates also will meet with groups of wealthy people in China and India within the next six months to talk about philanthropy. They hope the idea of generosity will spread, but they have no plans to lead a global campaign, Buffett said.
Gates and Buffett estimate their efforts could generate $600 billion dollars in charitable giving. In 2009, American philanthropies received a total of about $300 billion in donations, according to The Chronicle of Philanthropy.
Stacy Palmer, editor of The Chronicle, was surprised and impressed by the speed at which the giving pledge idea has been accepted.
"I think it's remarkably fast that so many people went public with their commitments. The world of philanthropy tends to be very slow moving," she said.
Palmer noted that many of names on the list are people who are known for their philanthropic generosity. She said she would be more excited when she sees names that have not been on other major donor lists.
Taking the idea past billionaires toward millionaires and regular working people could make an even bigger impact, Palmer added.
Jason Franklin, executive director Bolder Giving, a relatively new organization that encourages big gifts from everyday people, agreed.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation gave Bolder Giving a $675,000 challenge grant earlier this year to encourage more people to give at least 20 percent of their personal wealth to charity.
Franklin estimates the giving power of the world's millionaires eclipses the potential donations from U.S. billionaires many times over.
Gates and Buffett are asking billionaires not just to make a donation commitment, but to also pledge to give wisely and learn from their peers.

Their group has no plans for combined giving, and none of the philanthropists will be told how or when to give their money."Everybody has their own interests," said New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who participated in a teleconference with Buffett on Wednesday as one of the individuals who has signed the giving pledge. "That's what's wonderful about private philanthropy."
"I've always thought your kids get more benefit out of your philanthropy than your will," he added.Bloomberg, who has a fortune estimated by Forbes magazine at $18 billion, said he has changed his personal philosophy over the years from wanting to be more private about his giving toward trying to play a leadership role. He said his whole family is in tune with his giving plan.

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