New York, Sep 25: American business magnate and philanthropist Bill Gates on Wednesday said sanitation work is a "difficult issue" and by conferring the Global Goalkeeper Award to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has recognized 'progress' India has made in this area.
"Sanitation is a difficult issue to take on because there are no easy solutions. Tonight we recognized the progress India has made on this issue through its Swachh Bharat program, under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi," Mr Gates said in a tweet.
Mr Modi was on Wednesday conferred the prestigious Global Goalkeeper Award earlier in the day.
A statement from the Gates Foundation said - "The Global Goalkeeper Award was presented to Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India for the progress India is making in improving sanitation through the Swachh Bharat mission".
Before the Swachh Bharat mission, over 500 million people in India did not have access to safe sanitation, and now, the majority do, it said.
The 'Goalkeepers' is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s campaign to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (Global Goals).
"By sharing stories and data behind the Global Goals through events and an annual report, we hope to inspire a new generation of leaders—Goalkeepers who raise awareness of progress, hold their leaders accountable, and drive action to achieve the Global Goals," it said.
In his speech, Prime Minister said - 'What matters to me is that 130 crore Indians who have worked towards Swachh Bharat and made 'Swachh Bharat' a mass movement".
He said 'Swachh Bharat Mission' has played a key role in fulfilling the aims and aspirations of the nation, adding that such a campaign is not seen in any other country in the world.
More than 11 crore toilets were constructed in past five years, Mr Modi pointed out in his speech.
He said ,'Now we strive to end the scourge of TB in India by 2025'.
In a tweet, Mr Modi said, 'I dedicate the Global Goalkeeper Award, conferred by the Gates Foundation, to the 130 crore people of India and the collective endeavours of our nation to improve cleanliness.
It makes me most happy that India’s successes in sanitation have helped women and children the most.' (UNI)