Bill Gates commends Modi for success of Swachh Bharat initiative

Sriparna Ghosh
Bill Gates

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Swachh Bharat initiative have been hailed by many, and now billionaire and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has applauded the PM.

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The philanthropist and author praised Modi and his scheme in his blog post on his website www.gatesnotes.com on April 25. In the blog titled, 'India is winning its war on human waste' he said, "Nearly three years ago, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made one of the boldest comments on public health that I have ever heard from an elected official."

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Bill Gates and his wife Melinda have worked for better sanitation in developing countries. The two have pointed out to how poor sanitation contributes to about 700,000 child deaths from diarrhoea every year across the world.

"The hard work is paying off. Today more than 30 percent of Indian villages have been declared free of open defecation, up from 8 percent in 2015," said Bill Gates.

Gates praised Modi's bold approach to the sensitive problem and the statement which he made during his first address to the nation on Independence Day.

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The business magnate quoted Modi's words which said, "We are living in the 21st century. Has it ever pained us that our mothers and sisters have to defecate in the open?... The poor womenfolk of the village wait for the night; until darkness descends, they can't go out to defecate. What bodily torture they must be feeling, how many diseases that act might engender? Can't we make arrangements for toilets for the dignity of our mothers and sisters?"

Gates wrote that Modi's statement was one of the boldest comments made by an elected official.

Addressing the issue from the point of view of Economy, Gates said, '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."

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He also applauded the people of India who are actively taking part in bringing about a change in the sanitation facilities of India. "It is a great example for other countries and an inspiration for all of us who believe everyone deserves a healthy, productive life," Gates wrote.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Uttar Pradesh government on Tuesday scrapped off 15 public holidays marking the birth and death anniversary of eminent personalities. This decision was taken after Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had announced that schools in his state will no longer be closed on the occasion of birth and death anniversaries of great men and social leaders.

While most of the holidays had been declared by the previous Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Samajwadi Party (SP) and often to appease certain sections of the society, Cabinet minister Shrikant Sharma has said that the 15 holidays were done away with so that students can learn more about the great personalities through the special programmes that will be conducted for them.

According to Adityanath, the 220-day academic session has been reduced to only 120 days owing to such holidays. He added that if this tradition continues, there will be no day left for teaching in schools.

Uttar Pradesh had a total of 42 public holidays of which at least 17 were to mark birth anniversaries of eminent personalities. Previously, BSP and SP had declared holidays on the birth anniversaries of former Prime Minister Chandrashekhar (April 17), Maharishi Kashyap and Maharshi Nishadraj Jayanti (April 5), Hazrat Ajmeri Garib Nawaj Urs (April 26), Maharana Pratap Jayanti (May 9) and also the death anniversary of BR Ambedkar (December 6).

But now, the UP CM has cancelled the holidays scheduled on April 5, April 17 and May 9. Public holidays like Jan Nayak Karpori Thakur birth anniversary (January 24), Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti Ajmeri Gareeb Nawaz Urs on (April 14), Parashu Ram Jayanti (April 28), Jamat Ul Vida on June 23 (last Friday of Ramzan), Chhat Puja (October 26), Eid Milad Un Nabi (December 2) and Chaudhary Charan Singh Jayanti (December 23).

Sharma has said that revised list of holidays will soon be made available.

Noted journalist, columnist and author Tarek Fatah said on Tuesday (April 25) that Facebook had suspended his account. Fatah, who is often in the eye of controversies because of his outspoken and divisive statements on Islam, has been criticised and harassed several times.

Fatah, who is of Canadian nationality, took to Twitter on Tuesday to say: "As if being on the ISIS death list weren't enough, Facebook suspends me. This calls for a book titled: White Guilt and Brown Bastards."

The ISIS reference was to a terror plot that had reportedly been hatched to kill him. However last week the Uttar Pradesh Anti terror squad foiled the plot and arrested the hitmen – Ehtesham and. The ISIS had watched Fateh's YouTube videos and concluded his views on Islam were "highly objectionable"

Though the reason behind the suspension of his account is unclear, it can be chalked up to any number of his social media posts that have stirred the hornet's nest. The most recent of these was when he showed open support for Bollywood singer Sonu Nigam on the latter's call for ban of loudspeakers during Azaan.

The Bollywood singer had ignited controversy on Monday, April 17, when he tweeted out that the Azan was forced religiousness. Fatah had supported the singer, calling him 'spot on' on the issue.

Facebook can suspend an account for a number of reasons. These include when the Cupertino-based company receives complaints about the account and its content being offensive or hurtful, or when the account starts to send out spam content. It can be surmised for now that Fatah's account was suspended after a complaint from someone who was offended by his views.

IBTimes India has reached out to Fatah on this issue, but has not received a reply yet.

Meanwhile, the Facebook account suspension seems to have had no effect on Fatah, who continues to share his views on other social media platforms. In reply to a tweet asking whether the Mumbai Police had taken note of the life threats issued to Sonu Nigam, he said on Wednesday: "Seems in India, the Muslim triad-thugs, gangsters and mullahs r invincible. From top to bottom the Indian state shivers in fear & dare not act."

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Swachh Bharat initiative has been hailed by many, but when billionaire and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates takes to applaud the PM, it is indeed a proud moment for India.

The philanthropist and author took to praising Modi and his cleanliness scheme in his blog post on his website www.gatesnotes.com on April 25. In the blog titled, 'India is winning its war on human waste' he said, "Nearly three years ago, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made one of the boldest comments on public health that I have ever heard from an elected official."

Bill Gates and his wife Melinda has always vied hard for the need for better sanitation in the developing countries. The two has always pointed out how Poor sanitation contributes to about 700,000 child deaths from diarrhoea every year and this is the exact reason why he took to congratulating Modi and and his initiative to put an end to open defecation and improve sanitation.

"The hard work is paying off. Today more than 30 percent of Indian villages have been declared free of open defecation, up from 8 percent in 2015," said Bill Gates.  

Gates even took to praising Modi's bold approach to the sensitive problem and the statement which he made during his first address to the nation on Independence Day.

The business magnate quoted Modi's words which said, "We are living in the 21st century. Has it ever pained us that our mothers and sisters have to defecate in the open?... The poor womenfolk of the village wait for the night; until darkness descends, they can`t go out to defecate. What bodily torture they must be feeling, how many diseases that act might engender. Can`t we make arrangements for toilets for the dignity of our mothers and sisters?"
Gates wrote that, Modi's statement was one of the boldest comments made by an elected official.

Addressing the issue from the point of view of Economy, Gates said, '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."

He also applauded the people of India who are actively taking part in bringing about a change in the sanitation facilities of India. "It is a great example for other countries and an inspiration for all of us who believe everyone deserves a chance at a healthy, productive life," Gates acclaimed.

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