Gates Foundation honours Modi for clean India mission

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Bill Gates presenting the ‘Global Goalkeeper Award’ to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, for his efforts to “improve access to sanitation in India” Sept. 24, in New York. Photo: videograb from Reuters video)

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on Tuesday (September 24) honored Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the ‘Global Goalkeeper Award’ for his efforts to “improve access to sanitation in India”.

In 2014, Modi announced the “Swachh Bharat”, or “Clean India”, campaign and vowed to eliminate open defecation nationwide in five years.

“India’s Swachh Bharat Mission is already serving as a model for other countries around the world that urgently need to improve access to safe sanitation for the world’s poorest,” Gates said.

Swachh Bharat, a multi-billion-dollar program backed by money from the government and a World Bank loan, has indeed built millions of latrines, but critics say official statistics paint an overly optimistic picture of its success.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s ‘Global Goalkeeper’s Award’ is accorded to a world leader every year for their achievement in a specific sustainable development goal. The previous winners have been Norway Prime Minister Erna Solberg and Liberia President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

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