PM Modi Receives International Award For ‘Swachh Bharat’ Campaign
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today received the Goalkeepers Global Goals Award for his government’s Swachh Bharat programme. Microsoft founder Bill Gates presented the award to PM Modi at a ceremony on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting in New York City.
Started by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Goalkeepers award seeks to “bring together leaders from around the world to accelerate progress for ending poverty and fighting inequality”, according to the organisers.
“Gandhi ji’s dream for swachhata (cleanliness) is now becoming true,” PM Modi said. “The World Health Organisation has reported that three lakh people have been saved (from diseases) by the campaign… Such as campaign was never heard of,” he said. “Getting the award in the year of Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary is personally significant for me. When 130 crore people take a pledge, any challenge can be overcome,” he said.
PM Modi launched the Swachh Bharat Mission in October 2014 as a tribute to Mahatma Gandhi. It seeks to improve cleanliness through solid and liquid waste management and making villages open-defecation free.
“Due to lack of toilets, a number of girls had to drop out of schools. Our daughters want to study, but because of lack of toilets, they had to abandon their education midway and sit at home,” he added. “The Swachh Bharat programme has changed this.”
“India had only seen constitutional federalism for decades. Our government made an effort to change it to cooperative federalism and with time we are moving towards competitive-cooperative federalism. I am happy that through Swachh Survekshan (cleanliness survey), India’s states now compete with each other for higher ranking in cleanliness,” the Prime Minister said.
The Swachh Bharat campaign is the world’s largest behavioural change programme. “Behaviour change has been the key differentiator of Swachh Bharat Mission and therefore emphasis is placed on behaviour change communication,” the government says on the Swachh Bharat website.
The inaugural Goalkeepers event in 2017 hosted a diverse group of leaders. Speakers, including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, former US President Barack Obama and activist Malala Yousafzai had attended it.