Smart Cities project more talk than action: Azim Premji


BENGALURU: “Eagles and vultures don’t come to my village anymore. How do we make them return?” This question was posed by a 10-year-boy to Azim Premji, the Chairman of Wipro Limited. The business tycoon and philanthropist smiled and replied that they could be brought back by planting trees.

The sixth edition of Wipro’s annual ‘Earthian programme’, a platform to involve schools and colleges to come up with sustainable practices, also saw the rare occurrence of Premji interacting with students of all ages – from middle school to college students. The students were a part of the winning schools and colleges, selected from over 1,000 institutes.

Premji was asked about his childhood and success to education, development, smart cities project and sustainability.

When asked about the sacrifices he made, he quipped, “I worked hard and neglected my family.” He attributed his success to ambition and hard work, along with “lots of luck”.

On being asked about dropping out of college, he said, “I had to do it because I had to take up responsibilities as I lost my father when he was 51. However, I did get a degree in electrical engineering later from Stanford.”

He added he was naughty as a child and received many raps on the knuckles and smacks on the head. He added that he spent a lot of time kneeling outside classrooms. The czar of the IT industry expressed disappointment with the Smart Cities project, terming it “more talk than action”, and said its implementation has been shallow.

Elaborating on the concept of a nation’s development, he said the actual satisfaction level of the people was an important factor.

The question-answer session was preceded by students receiving certificates from Premji. Some of the winning colleges were IIT Roorkee, IIM Lucknow, IIM Shillong, Pune College of Engineering, IIM Kozhikode and IIT Kharagpur.