The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation recently honoured Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the 'Global Goalkeeper' Award recognizing his contribution for the Swachh Bharat initiative. PM Modi speaking on the initiative stated that if the mission has had an impact on anyone it is the women of the country and the poverty-stricken. PM Modi said that an individual who is well off would be able to construct multiple toilets in their homes but only someone who probably does not have the privilege of having a toilet at home would understand the importance of it. He further added that this has in turn especially impacted the women of the country.
The aim of the Swachh Bharat initiative was to clean up the roads, streets and other places in the country’s towns and villages. As the country had been plagued by the problem of uncleanliness, the initiative seeks to end the problem of open defecation in the country by constructing toilets in individual households as well as public toilets in community spaces. The PM spoke of the plight of women, stating that not having a washroom in the household for women is of utmost disgrace and is a problem to be reckoned with. It would further be disrespectful to women to wait till the sun would go down so that they could defecate in open places. This led to women in rural households dropping out of school, abandoning their education.
PM Modi notified the audience that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has reported that the Swachh Bharat initiative has created a possibility where more than three lakh individuals can be saved from the menace of uncleanliness. He further notified that UNICEF has similarly reported that every household in the rural areas who are constructing toilets are approximately saving up to Rs 50,000. The PM added that even in the report of Bill and Melinda Gates foundation it has been stated that because of the progress in rural sanitation in India, the occurrences of heart conditions have been reported to be fewer in children. In conclusion, the PM spoke the golden words of Mahatma Gandhi where he stated that 'More than Freedom, cleanliness is important.'