Founder of Microsoft Corporation, Bill Gates, presented Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the ‘Global Goalkeeper’s Award’ for India’s progress in the ‘Swacch Bharat Mission’ at New York on Wednesday morning (IST). Bill Gates before presenting the honour to PM Modi played a video featuring the surprise voice over by the legendary actor Amitabh Bachchan. While the voice surprised the audiences, it also presented some detailed statistics to the audiences. Bill Gates also explained how sanitation-related illnesses take more lives than any other illnesses like Malaria. He also hailed PM Modi’s courage to make India free of open defecation.
Bill Gates before presenting the Global Goalkeeper honour to PM Modi explained how the sanitation problems have been affecting many countries in the world. He said, “We hear a lot about Malaria, and we should because it's devastating and we are making progress. But sanitation-related illnesses kill more kids every year than Malaria does. In 2014, PM Narendra Modi announced ‘Swacch Bharat Mission’ - a program with a very ambitious goal to eliminate open defecation in India. Before the project, the government estimated that more than half a billion people have been defecating in open. But today, just five years later, thanks to the leadership, of hundreds and thousands of people and communities across India, the vast majority now has access to safe sanitation. This progress is very critical for achieving SDG-6 (Sustainable Development Goals) for water and sanitation which is lagging far behind. While there is still more work to do, to sustain this progress, in the long run, we are already seeing the life-saving impact. India’s ‘Swacch Bharat Mission’ is already serving as a model for other countries around the world that urgently need to improve their access to safe sanitation. That’s why today I am pleased to be presenting the ‘Global Goalkeeper Award’ to PM Narendra Modi for the progress that India is making in improving sanitation.”
The Swachh Bharat Mission’s explainer video that featured Amitabh Bachchan's voice highlighted important facts related to sanitation problems in India before 2014. The video said that only 39% of rural households had toilets and at least 600 million people in India were defecating in open before 2014. PM Modi launched the Swacch Bharat Mission on August 15, 2014, and promised that all the schools, hospitals, offices, etc. in India will be clean by Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary in 2019. The video also explained the difficulty that the government faced in uprooting the stigma attached to defecating in one’s home. Subsequently, the video went on to explain that how the government of India with the help of leadership and people’s participation, eradicated the practice of open defecation in India over the five years.