Bill Gates, who is among the world’s richest men, often talks about sanitation — “a safe place to poop,” as he puts it — when he visits India. Most times, he brings it up.
On his last visit in September, along with his wife Melinda Gates, he was surprised and impressed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi brought it up at their meeting.
“We may have spent more time talking about sanitation than anything else,” Gates wrote in a blog on Monday, adding, mostly he and his wife brought it up. “This time, the Prime Minister did,” he added.
Modi has spoken against open defecation with rare passion for a modern Indian leader — “Pehle shauchalaya, phir devalaya (toilets first, temples later),” he said earlier this week.
At the meeting with the Bill and Melinda Gates, which went into extra time twice over, the Prime Minister spoke at length about how he plans to end open defecation by 2019. Modi’s Swachh Bharat campaign aims to build toilet in every school in India.
“We came away impressed by his commitment to fight poverty and improving health for India’s poorest people,” wrote the Microsoft co-founder, who is worth $75 billion (Rs 4.6 lakh crore).
There are an estimated 2.5 billion people without access to proper toilets globally with India alone accounting for over a fourth of them or 650 million people.
“We came away impressed by his commitment to fighting poverty and improving health for India’s poorest people,” wrote the Microsoft co-founder, who is worth $75 billion.