Technological giant and Microsoft founder Bill Gates became the first business leader of the world on Saturday to receive the Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development for 2007.
The award, comprising cash money of Rs 25 lakh, is recognition to the work done by Gates’ foundation in fighting poverty and illness, especially HIV-AIDS, in India and other countries.
Gates is the 22nd recipient of the award, instituted in 1986. He received the award from President Pratibha Patil on behalf of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation at Rashtrapati Bhawan.
“When a technological giant like Bill Gates joins the cause of changing the lives of people through philanthropy, we have reasons to be optimistic,” Patil said.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, present at the function, said, “The foundation is an inspiration for business leaders around the world”.
The foundation had committed nearly $1 billion for health and development projects in India. Most
of the money has gone to prevent AIDS and eradicate polio.
“Yours is an example that we in India ought to emulate,” said Congress president Sonia Gandhi, referring to Gates’ initiative.
In his speech, Gates said India has two advantages that can trigger major breakthroughs in health sector. “First, the proven ability to innovate. Second, a keen appreciation for the urgency of the situation.”