On Wednesday, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has received the ‘Goalkeepers Global Goals Award’ for his government’s ‘Swachh Bharat’ Campaign. On the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Microsoft founder Bill Gates has presented the award to PM Modi.

Started by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the ‘Goalkeepers Global Goals Award’ seeks to “bring together leaders from around the world to accelerate progress for ending poverty and fighting inequality”, informed the organizers.

PM Modi said, “Gandhi ji’s dream for Swachhata (cleanliness) is now becoming true,” adding that “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 continued, “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.”

The Indian Prime Minister has introduced the Swachh Bharat Mission in October 2014 as an honor to Mahatma Gandhi. It aims at improving cleanliness through the management of liquid and solid waste and also making the village’s open-defection 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,” PM Modi said, “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,” added PM Modi.

‘Swachh Bharat’ Campaign is the world’s largest behavioral change programme.

It official website detailed it as “Behaviour change has been the key differentiator of Swachh Bharat Mission and therefore emphasis is placed on behaviour change communication.”

The initial ‘Goalkeepers Global Goals’ Event in 2017 has hosted a diverse group of leaders. The speaker at the event includes former US President Barack Obama, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and Activist Malala Yousafzai, had attended the grand event.

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