Bill Gates, world’s richest man and co-founder of Microsoft, has applauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Swachh Bharat’ mission, saying that he has put a spotlight on a subject that most of us would rather not even think about.
In his note he posted earlier today on his gatesnotes.com blog, Gates talks in detail about why he thinks “India is winning the war on human waste”. Also, he lauded PM Modi for not just devising the Swachh Bharat initiative but for also talking about the issue of human waste.
“Nearly three years ago, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made one of the boldest comments on public health that I have ever heard from an elected official...I can't think of another time when a national leader has broached such a sensitive topic so frankly and so publicly,” he wrote about PM Modi’s 2014 Independence Day address to the nation.
“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,” he added.
The results are there to see, said Gates and added, “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.”
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”.
He also mentioned about an application that the 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 Modi managed to convince and deploy Bollywood and cricketers to come forward and talk of open defecation publicly to carry on campaigns and get rid of it.