New Delhi, 19 September 2014: The famous American philanthropist Bill Gates called on the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi today. He was accompanied by Melinda Gates.
Bill Gates praised the Prime Minister`s emphasis on community sanitation initiatives, and in particular, applauded the Prime Minister`s focus on sanitation as a critical driver of child health, and a prominent factor in the safety and dignity of women and girls.
The Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana also came up for discussion, with Bill and Melinda Gates appreciating the Prime Minister`s prioritization of financial inclusion, and expressing support for his vision for access to financial services for all.
Bill Gates also appreciated India`s efforts in introducing four critical new vaccines in its Universal Immunization Programme. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation expressed keenness to continue its partnership with India in this area.
The Prime Minister praised the spirit of philanthropy and public good, with which the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has been working. He appreciated the Foundation`s efforts in healthcare in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, and discussed with them how these efforts could be integrated with the existing programmes of the Government. Bill and Melinda Gates also appreciated the improvement in institutional delivery by involving public and private sector health facilities in the State of Gujarat.
The Prime Minister shared with Bill and Melinda Gates, his ideas for the innovative use of technology for waste water management to irrigate peri-urban land and encourage organic farming.
Creating awareness about nutrition among adolescent girls was also discussed.
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) Offers Help in Monitoring the Progress Made With Regard to Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana (PMJDY)
The Co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), Bill Gates along with Melinda Gates called on the Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his office here yesterday . MGates offered to help in monitoring the progress made with regard to Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana (PMJDY), the financial inclusion programme launched by the Prime Minister on 28th August, 2014. Gates said that BMGF can help in mapping the different sites across the country and can inform wherever a saturation level with regard to opening of accounts has reached or likely to reach so that focus can be made in other areas.
The Finance Minster Arun Jaitley welcomed the offer of Gates and said that the proposal will be duly considered. Similarly, Gates also expressed his desire to extend help in Swach Bharat abhiyan and health related programmes. Jaitley appreciated the work done by BMGF for the people at large in the field of health care, sanitation and financial inclusion.
Union Minister of Women & Child Development Meets Melinda & Bill Gates
The Gates Foundation assures all possible help for Nutrition Mission & Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Scheme
Melinda Gates and Bill Gates called on the Union Minister of Women and Child Development, Maneka Sanjay Gandhi in New Delhi today. During the meeting, the Minister explained the recent initiatives of the Ministry related to National Mission on Nutrition and the ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ scheme. Maneka Gandhi said that though a lot of work is being done by different wings of the Government on the malnutrition front, the real time monitoring of children and their nutritional status continues to remain a major area of concern. The Minister also laid stress on the training of Anganwadi workers and helpers (AWWs and AWHs) which are currently 25 lakh women. These women play a critical role in providing nutritional services to the pregnant and lactating mothers as well as children upto the age of six years, she added.
The Minister explained that under the National Nutrition Mission, efforts are being made to integrate the efforts of different Ministries in a project mode where training of ground level workers as well as extensive use of IT and instruments will form the backbone of the Mission. She requested Bill Gates to assist in developing the IT solution for such a large format programme like setting up a Central Monitoring Unit to collect, record and analyse date. It was also discussed that the child by child data can be made available to AWWs through low cost IT instruments like tablets or mobile phones.
Melinda Gates showed special interest in the programme for adolescent girls . The Minister described the efforts being made to restructure the SABLA scheme of the Ministry to target out- of- school adolescent girls. In the restructured programme, the existing school infrastructure will be used to impart basic life skills and health and nutrition learning to the out of school adolescent girls besides providing them the hot cooked meal, she said. The Ministry of Women and Child Development has proposed to integrate the restructured SABLA scheme with Ministry of HRD.
The Minister also gave the details of the newly launched ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ scheme and stated that the efforts of the Ministry will be to have the pregnancy registered in the 1st trimester itself so that further progress could be monitored. Gates stated that this could also be taken up into the IT backbone in the nutrition mission as the basic vehicle of delivery of services will be the Anganwadis itself.
Melinda Gates and Bill Gates assured that the Bill Gates Foundation will be able to assist the Ministry in the areas of training and technical requirements for the National Mission on Nutrition as well as the ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ scheme.
Venkaiah Naidu lauds Gates for his philanthropy
Ministry of Urban Development and Bill and Milinda Gates Foundation have in principle, agreed on a partnership to promote user friendly toilets to ensure universal sanitation in India with the objective of addressing sanitation related health concerns. Urban Development Minister M.Venkaiah Naidu and Bill Gates today held extensive discussion on the magnitude of providing toilets to every household in the country. Gates enquired about the Government of India’s sanitation initiatives and the requirement of toilets.
Naidu gave a detailed account of the government’s initiatives to ensure housing for all by the year 2022 and the ‘Swachchh Bharat Mission’ to be launched on October 2, 2014 under which every household is to be enabled with toilet facility by 2019. He informed that under the new housing initiative, every affordable house to be constructed in urban areas would be provided with toilet facilities. He said that about 12 million urban households do not have toilet facilities at present and this problem is sought to be addressed to. Naidu said that the government would like to benefit from the initiatives and experience of Bill and Milinda Gates Foundation in sanitation sector since about 3 crore new houses are to be constructed in urban areas alone to address housing shortage, particularly, of the Economically Weaker Sections and Low Income Groups. He said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has accorded top priority for ensuring universal sanitation in the country.
Appreciating the intensive focus of the government on improving sanitation in the country, Bill Gates said the Foundation’s core competency is research and technology promotion and would like to share them with the Government of India. He stressed on promoting quality and user friendly toilets to ensure their proper use.
Further to the discussions, it has been agreed that the Ministry of Urban Development and Bill and Milinda Gates Foundation would cooperate in four areas, viz., Innovative Technology Demonstration in respect of toilets and sewage management, Promoting decentralized sewerage systems that enable disposal of sewage at habitation level rather than pooling of sewage, Capacity building in sanitation sector and Promoting use of toilets.
Venkaiah Naidu has complimented Bill Gates for his philanthropic initiatives seeking primarily, to address basic needs of the people across the world. He observed that ‘acquiring wealth through hard work and enterprise is noteworthy but serving humanity using it is nobler and you (Bill Gates) are a shining example in this regard.’