MUMBAI, India — In a country where charity more typically goes to the household help, an Indian tech mogul's pledge to donate nearly $2 billion to fund education programs for the poor was a bombshell.

Forbes lists Premji as the 3rd richest Indian and the 28th richest person in the world with an estimated net worth of more than $17 billion.

Philanthropy among the wealthy is entrenched in countries like the U.S., which has tax structures that encourage giving, and American billionaires Bill Gates and Warren Buffett have set out to help sow that tradition in newly wealthy countries. In September, they visited China and are planning a trip to India next year.

India has a long tradition of giving, but traditionally charity has stayed close to home, with families supporting their household help or local religious institution Corporate foundations in India have also become commonplace. Even India's richest man — known better for building a 27-story home than for his social vision — started a foundation last year. Mukesh Ambani's company, Reliance Industries, has pledged to double the foundation's initial endowment :-of $110.4 million.