Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday received the 2019 Global Goalkeeper Award for Swachh Bharat Mission from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Swachh Bharat Mission was launched on October 2, 2014 by Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance government.
Narendra Modi dedicated this award to the 130 crore Indians who transformed the Swachh Bharat campaign into a "people's movement"."The success of Swachh Bharat Mission is due to the people of India," said Narendra Modi while receiving the award. The award ceremony took place on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) session.
Global Goalkeeper Award is a "special recognition" by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The award celebrates a political leader who has "demonstrated their commitment to the Global Goals through impactful work in their country and/or globally."
Receiving Global Goalkeeper Award on Mahatma Gandhi's 150th birth anniversary was significant for him, said Prime Minister Modi. Swachh Bharat Abhiyan was initiated by the government but it was the people of the country who took the movement forward, he said.
"In the last five years, a record more than 11 crore toilets were constructed. If this mission has benefited someone the most, it is the poor of this country and the women," Modi noted.
Launched in 2014, Swachh Bharat Mission aims to accelerate the efforts to achieve universal sanitation coverage in the country. About 90 million toilets have been built to eliminate open defecation by October 2, 2019, according to the official data. At present, 98% of Indian villages have rural sanitation coverage instead of 38% four years ago.
"The Swachh Bharat Mission can serve as a model for other countries around the world that urgently need to improve access to sanitation for the world's poorest," said Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Modi also said that India is close to achieving its sanitation target. The World Health Organisation (WHO) had also acknowledged Modi government's cleanliness campaign. Due to the Swachh Bharat campaign, a possibility was created to save three lakh human lives, Modi added.