Gates gets peace prize, hikes AIDS funds for India

Bill Gates Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates yesterday received the Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development on behalf of his $38-billion Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The foundation has been working actively on a range of issues, including HIV / AIDS.

Bill Gates is in India to inaugurate the fifth anniversary celebrations of Microsoft Research India and attend a symposium on 'Research and innovation - the keys to India's future', human resource development minister Kapil Sibal as the chief guest.

Other members of the discussion panel include Prithviraj Chavan, minister of state for science and technology and earth sciences; N.R. Narayana Murthy, chairman and chief mentor, Infosys Technologies; and Prof. Ashok Jhunjhunwala, IIT Madras; and Dr P Anandan, managing director, Microsoft Research India.

The Gates foundation is being recognised for "pioneering and exemplary philanthropic work around the world and in India in health."

On Thursday Gates had announced an increase in his foundation's AIDS prevention commitment in India to $338 million. In 2003, the Gates Foundation launched Avahan, a 10-year initiative to reduce the spread of HIV in India.

Avahan provides funding and support to targeted HIV prevention programmes in six Indian states and along the national trucking routes. Prior to this, the foundation had committed a total of $258 million to Avahan.