New York, Sep 25: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday was conferred the prestigious Global Goalkeeper Award by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, recognising the progress India has made in providing safe sanitation under his leadership.
Mr Modi received the award for Swatch Bharat Mission and dedicated it to crores of Indians who worked for the world's biggest sanitation programme. Mr Modi 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'.
Mr Modi was conferred the award by world's most famous philanthropist Bill Gates in the presence of Melinda Gates. The Prime Minister said receiving the award on Mahatma Gandhi's 150th birth anniversary was very important to him.
'I am very happy that Mahatma Gandhi's dream of clean India is becoming a reality,' Mr Modi stated. He said girl students suffered as schools did not have toilets and poor women in rural areas who waited for dusk to relieve themselves, benefitted the most from this movement. Dignity of women is most important, he maintained.
Mr Modi said the award reflects that if 130 crore people come together to work towards a goal, they can overcome any challenge. Citing a WHO report, Mr Modi said three lakh lives were saved through this mission and according to a UNICEF report, each family saved at Rs 54,000.
According to Bill and Melinda Foundation report, body mass index (BMI), a measure of body fat based on height and weight, of poor women also improved, the Prime Minister said. Quoting a UNICEF report, he stated that ground water quality also improved in past five years.
This mission is also an example of completion of cooperative federalism, Mr Modi said and added states compete with each other in cleanliness rankings. Mr Modi also spoke about water conservation and environment protection. He also said a campaign has been started for banning of single use of plastic.
Addressing the gathering, the second richest person in the world, Mr Gates said,' I am pleased to be presenting the Gates' Foundation Goalkeeper award to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his work in sanitation'. A film on the works done during Swachta mission was also showed. UNI