Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday received the "Global Goalkeeper" award by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for the 'Swachh Bharat Abhiyan'. Addressing the gathering at the event, PM Modi dedicated the award to the Indians who made cleanliness their priority during their day-to-day lives. The Prime Minister asserted that with the efforts of the people of India, a record number of toilets have been built in the country since the launch of the 'Swachh Bharat Abhiyan'. He added it is the determination of 130 crore Indians who made sure the campaign become a success.
He remembered the citizens who sacrificed their lives for the construction of toilets in their villages and nearby areas. Adding that no such campaigns have been heard from any other country, PM Modi asserted that it is efforts of the people who worked hard for the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan's success.
"I believe that the success of the Swachh Bharat Mission is above any figure. If this mission provided the most benefit to anyone, then it would be for the poor of the country, the women of the country. Due to the lack of toilets, a number of girls had to drop out of schools. Our daughters want to study, but because of lack of toilets, they had to abandon their education mid-way and sit at home," PM Modi said.
PM Modi spoke about Mahatma Gandhi's dream of cleanliness, expressing happiness over its fulfilment with the success of Swachh Bharat Mission.
"I am also happy that the dream of cleanliness that Mahatma Gandhi had dreamed of is now going to come true. Gandhiji used to say that an ideal village can be built only when it is completely clean. Today we are moving towards making the whole country an ideal in terms of cleanliness, not just the village. The campaign has not only improved the lives of crores of Indians, but it has also played a significant role in achieving the goals set by the UN," PM Modi added.
Further speaking at the occasion in New York, PM Modi said that the World Health Organisation (WHO) also acknowledged India's efforts in the cleanliness mission, adding that it is due to the Swachh Bharat campaign that over three lakh human lives have been saved. PM Modi revealed that he has been told that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation also reported that as rural sanitation had improved in India, it had led to a decline in heart problems among children and improvement in the Body Mass Index (BMI) among women. The Prime Minister also spoke about the Indian democracy, asserting that in a strong democracy, people are at the centre and policies for the people are the priority.
PM Modi thanked the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for bestowing the honour on him. Taking to Twitter, he posted a picture with Bill Gates and Melinda Gates, saying that he had a fruitful interaction with them.
The Modi government launched the cleanliness campaign 'Swachh Bharat Abhiyan' on Mahatma Gandhi's birth anniversary on October 2, 2014.
(With PTI inputs)