Indian Telecom czar and Chairman and Group CEO of Bharti Enterprises, Sunil Mittal, has been named the Philanthropist of the Year by the Asian Awards for his contribution in the area of education for the underprivileged.
Mittal, who started the business as a bicycle manufacturer and is now heading the country's leading business conglomerate, has been recognised for his outstanding contribution through Bharti Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Bharti Group.
The Asian Awards recognises and rewards exemplary achievement across 12 categories, which include business, philanthropy, entertainment, culture and sport.
It recognises achievement and excellence amongst South Asians from around the world.
According to the award citation, "Mittal's vision of empowering rural communities across India through education, establishes him as one of the world's leading philanthropists, illustrating that business can bring social changes too," Bharti Airtel said in a statement.
Bharti Foundation's Satya Bharti School Program provides free quality education to underprivileged children in remote villages across India with particular focus on the girl child.
The Program, under which 236 primary schools and a senior secondary school are currently operating, reaches out to over 30,000 children with modern curriculum that includes computer aided learning, free uniforms & books and mid-day meals.
Mittal, who is also a recipient of the country's third-highest civilian award, Padma Bhushan, said: "I am hopeful the efforts of Bharti Foundation will offer thousands of children a platform to participate more meaningfully in India's growth story and contribute to the government's agenda of inclusive growth."
Other recipient of the award include film maker Yash Chopra, for his achievements in cinema; AR Rahman, for his contribution in the field of music and Sachin Tendulkar, for his contribution in sports.
Besides, it named Ratan Tata as the Social Entrepreneur of the Year and Dr Vijay Mallya as the Entrepreneur of the Year.
Bollywood mega star Amitabh Bachchan has bagged the Lifetime Achievement award.