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Strong demand for IT services, effect of falling oil prices still to be felt: Azim Premji

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

There was a strong demand for IT services in Europe and the US where the economy gained a lot of strength, Wipro chairman and IT czar Azim Premji said on Wednesday.

“With the US economy gaining lot of strength, we are seeing strong demand for IT services globally, particularly in continental Europe,” Premji told reporters on the margins of the software major’s 69th annual general meeting here.

Noting that digital technology has emerged as a major trend in IT services, Premji said the company was investing substantially in digital domain in a big way to capitalise on the opportunities unfolding in the sector worldwide.

“We have a venture fund to invest in early stage tech start-ups. We also have enough strength (funds) in the balance sheet for strategic acquisitions,” Premji said.

Admitting that sharp fall in crude oil prices helped the country in reducing its import bill and the trade deficit, the Wipro chairman said the growth was still not felt on the ground.

“Fall in oil prices has helped country but the jury is still out on the growth of the GDP (gross domestic product). We need to, however, give the government more time,” Premji said.

Earlier, in his address at the AGM, Premji told the shareholders that he gave away nearly 40 percent of his equity holding in the company to philanthropy in two transactions, including 21 percent earlier to the Azim Premji Foundation and Azim Premji Philanthropic Initiative.

“I have given up an additional 18 percent of my equity stake in the company for charity to earmark 39 percent of my holding (valued at Rs.53,284 crore) to the charitable trust,” Premji said, drawing applause from the investors.

The 69-year-old IT czar is the first Indian to sign the Giving Pledge, sponsored by billionaires Warren Buffet and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates to invite the world’s richest to donate majority of their wealth to charity.

“Over the last 15 years, I have tried to put this belief into action through my personal philanthropic work,” Premji told the shareholders.

(With inputs from IANS)

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