India

Azim Premji among six Indians in global thinkers list

Azim Premji
Image caption Azim Premji is one of India's most respected businessmen

Six Indians have been named in the US-based Foreign Policy magazine's list of the top 100 global thinkers for 2011.

They are software tycoon Azim Premji, campaigner Anna Hazare, economist Abhijit Banerjee, writer-activist Arundhati Roy, researcher Deepa Narayan and scholar Arvind Subramanian.

Arab activists who helped bring democracy to the Middle East secured the list's top spot, the magazine said.

It is published every year and nine Indians figured in 2010's list.

The Indian who secured the highest spot this year was respected businessman Azim Premji, ranked at 14, who the magazine called the "Bill Gates of India".

Chairman of the IT firm Wipro, Mr Premji is the country's third richest citizen with a net worth of $13bn (£8.35), according to Forbes magazine.

He is India's leading philanthropist and recently contributed nearly $2bn (£1.28bn) to a rural education project.

'Single-minded crusade'

Anti-corruption campaigner Anna Hazare is the next Indian who features on the list, ranked at number 37. He figures for "asking the world's largest democracy to live up to its billing".

In recent months, Mr Hazare has led a popular campaign demanding tough new laws to curb corruption.

"The simplicity and single-mindedness of Hazare's crusade has awakened millions of middle-class professionals who are fed up with India's pervasive culture of graft," the magazine said.

Image caption Arundhati Roy is India's best-known activist

Economist Abhijit Banerjee, who teaches at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was ranked 60th along with fellow economist Esther Duflo for their book, Poor Economics, on the world's poorest.

Poverty researcher Deepa Narayan (rank 79) gets on the list for "seeing the poor as more than victims", while well-known writer-activist Arundhati Roy (rank 94) is described as the "voice of India's voiceless".

Arvind Subramanian, a senior fellow at Washington's Peterson Institute for International Economics was ranked 97 on the list for "sounding the alarm on China's economic ascendancy" in his new book Eclipse: Living in the Shadow of China's Economic Dominance.

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