When the world’s most successful businessman appreciates a political leader’s efforts, one knows that it is rather a big deal. Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft has written in glowing terms about PM Narendra Modi and his Swachh Bharat mission and how it has changed the lives of millions of women in India and which is well on way to doing the same for the rest too. PM Modi gathered much support from the public at large when he talked of putting an end to open defecation two years ago and the continuous efforts towards achieving the goals are now paying off. Gates himself has elaborated the same in a blog that he wrote on his website www.gatesnotes.com.
Gates pointed out that Narendra Modi was one of the first political leaders who actually talked of the problem of open defecation and highlighted the importance of solving this huge problem during his first address to the nation on Independence Day. Gates in his blog said that he can’t think of another political leader who has done the same, ever. Gates wrote, “When you factor in the deaths, sickness, and lost opportunity, poor sanitation costs India more than $106 billion a year.” And not just talk about it, the PM has seriously implemented it and is tracking it to ensure the mission is accomplished on due date – which is 2019. The mission is to install 75 million toilets throughout the country.
Gates added, “So far, the progress is impressive. In 2014, when Clean India began, just 42 percent of Indians had access to proper sanitation. Today 63 percent do. And the government has a detailed plan to finish the job by October 2, 2019, the 150th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth. Officials know which states are on track and which are lagging behind, thanks to a robust reporting system that includes photographing and geotagging each newly installed toilet.”
Bill Gates praises PM Narendra Modi
In the blog, Gates also presented a virtual reality video titled ‘Talking Toilets’ on the government’s project. Gates further explains why the Prime Minister highlighted the subject, which he says most leaders would “rather not even think about”. Gates said that the project so far has been ‘impressive’. He wrote, “In 2014, when Clean India began, just 42 percent of Indians had access to proper sanitation. Today 63 percent do.”The results are there to see, says Gates and adds, “The hard work is paying off. Today more than 30 percent of Indian villages have been declared free of open defecation, up from 8 percent in 2015.”
Gates also talks of an application government is working on with Google to combat the problem of convincing people to use the toilets, which he says is another hurdle in India’s fight towards Clean India. Gates also showed his astonishment on how PM Narendra Modi managed to convince and deploy Bollywood and cricket stars to come forward and talk of open defecation publicly and to carry on campaigns to get rid of it.
Inputs from Financial Express