The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced that it would honour Prime Minister Narendra Modi with an award recognizing his contribution for the Swachh Bharat initiative. It will be presented to PM Modi on his visit to the United States of America. The date of the award ceremony is speculated to be September 25. Dr. Jitendra Singh, Minister of State (MoS) in the Prime Minister’s Office wrote on microblogging website Twitter that PM Modi’s diligent and innovative initiatives had brought laurels from across the world.
Another award,another moment of pride for every Indian, as PM Modi's diligent and innovative initiatives bring laurels from across the world.— Dr Jitendra Singh (@DrJitendraSingh) September 2, 2019
Sh @narendramodi to receive award from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for #SwachhBharatAbhiyaan during his visit to the United States. pic.twitter.com/QlsxOWS6jT
After PM Modi assumed office for the first time, his government embarked on the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Clean India Mission) on October 2, 2014. The aim of this initiative was to clean up the roads, streets and other places in India’s cities, towns and villages as the country had been plagued by the perennial problem of uncleanliness. Also, it sought to end open defecation in the country by building toilets in individual households as well as public toilets in community spaces. The PM resolved that the goal of ‘Clean India’ would be achieved by October 2, 2019, which is the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (SBA) has been lauded by several organizations across the world for successfully meeting most of its targets. For instance, the Economic Survey of 2019 mentions, “As on May 29, 2019, 5,61,014 villages (93.41 per cent), 2,48,847 gram panchayats (96.20 per cent)- 6,091 blocks (88.60 per cent) and 618 districts (88.41 per cent) have been declared ODF (Open Defecation Free).” The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Executive Director Henrietta Ford, praised PM Modi for investing political capital in the Swachh Bharat Mission in 2018. Similarly, the World Health Organization (WHO) lauded the SBA and added that this could result in over "14 million years of a healthy life". Bill Gates himself spoke very positively about SBA at the Goalkeepers event in New York in October 2018.
“The Indian government is to be congratulated for putting a focus on sanitation because the malnutrition rates in India are substantially above what you’d expect, given the strong economic development that India has had. And that means a lot in terms of kids not developing their full mental and physical capacity,” said Gates. He, along with his wife Melinda, helmed the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to reduce extreme poverty and enhance healthcare. It is considered the largest private foundation in the world.