Washington, Apr 26: Former Microsoft CEO and technology baron, William Henry ‘Bill’ Gates III Tuesday wrote on his blog praising the “Swachh Bharat Abhiyan” of the Government of India, stating that, “solving this problem (waste and open defecation) will save hundreds of thousands of lives every year, help girls stay in school, and boost the country’s economy.
Citing Prime Minister Modi from his 2014 Independence Day speech at the Red Fort, Bill Gates called the broaching of toilets, cleanliness, and sanitation as a bold and a frank statement never before brought up by any other national leader.
Clarifying the objectives of PM Modi behind open and frank talks on such a topic, he wrote that, “Of the 1.7 million people worldwide who die from unsafe water, sanitation, and hygiene each year, more than 600,000 are in India.
A quarter of young girls there drop out of school because there’s no decent toilet available. When you factor in the deaths, sickness, and lost opportunity, poor sanitation costs India more than $106 billion a year.”
“Unfortunately, in many places, it’s not feasible to lay down sewer pipes or build treatment facilities. That’s why Indian researchers are testing a variety of new tools, including redesigned toilets that don’t require sewer systems and advanced ways to treat human waste.”
Swachh Bharat Abhiyan has grown since the last two years, with 63% people with an access to proper sanitation as against 42% in 2014, he writes further. “The government has a detailed plan to finish the job by October 2, 2019, the 150th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth.
Officials know which states are on track and which are lagging behind, thanks to a robust reporting system that includes photographing and geotagging each newly installed toilet.”
This nation-wide cleanliness initiative has spread across all the states, 626 cities open defecation free, with 31.14 lakh individual toilets constructed and 1.15 lakh public toilets built since the beginning of the initiative on October 2, 2014.