Gates Foundation offers help in implementing PM's pet projects

19 September 2014

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) has offered to help monitor progress of implementing Narendra Modi government's two social sector lead projects - the Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) and Swach Bharat Abhiyan.

The co-chairs of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) Bill Gates and Melinda Gates on Thursday called on union finance minister Arun Jaitley and offered to help in monitoring the progress made with regard to PMJDY, the financial inclusion programme launched by the prime minister on 28 August 2014.

Gates said that BMGF can help in mapping the different sites across the country and can inform wherever a saturation level with regard to opening of accounts has reached or likely to reach so that focus can be made in other areas.

Gates also expressed his desire to extend help in Swach Bharat Abhiyan and health- related programmes.

The finance minister welcomed the offer of Gates and said the proposal will be duly considered. Jaitley also appreciated the work done by BMGF for the people at large in the field of healthcare, sanitation and financial inclusion.

Gates also met urban development minister M Venkaiah Naidu and discussed partnership in sanitation project. The foundation has offered to help with technology transfer for user friendly toilets,

The ministry of urban development and the Bill and Milinda Gates Foundation have in principle, agreed on a partnership to promote user friendly toilets to ensure universal sanitation in India, with the objective of addressing sanitation related health concerns.

Naidu and Gates held extensive discussions on the magnitude of providing toilets to every household in the country.

According to Naidu, about 12 million urban households in the country do not have toilet facilities at present and this problem is sought to be addressed even as about 30 million new houses are to be constructed in urban areas alone to address housing shortage, particularly, for the economically weaker sections and low income groups.

He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has accorded top priority for ensuring universal sanitation in the country.

Bill Gates said the Foundation's core competency is research and technology promotion and would like to share them with the Government of India. He stressed on promoting quality and user friendly toilets to ensure their proper use.

''I share the minister's belief in the power of technology to change the world and I applaud his commitment to harnessing the power of Indian innovation to save lives, through initiatives such as Reinvent The Toilet Challenge: India,'' Bill Gates said.

Further, it has been agreed that the ministry of urban development and Bill and Milinda Gates Foundation would cooperate in four areas - innovative technology demonstration in respect of toilets and sewage management, promoting decentralised sewerage systems that enable disposal of sewage at habitation level rather than pooling of sewage, capacity building in sanitation sector and promoting use of toilets.

In response to a request from minister of state (independent charge) for science and technology and earth sciences and MoS in prime minister's office  for personnel, public grievances and pensions, space and atomic energy Jitendra Singh, the Gates Foundation also announced emergency relief of $7,00,000 for the flood victims of Jammu & Kashmir.

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