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Bill Gates offers help in Banking scheme of India

New Delhi: The famous American philanthropist Mr. Bill Gates called on the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi today. He was accompanied by Mrs. Melinda Gates. Mr. 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. The Co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), Mr. Bill Gates along with Ms Melinda Gates called on the Union Finance Minister Shri Arun Jaitley in his office here yesterday . Mr. Gates 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. Mr. 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 Shri Arun Jaitley welcomed the offer of Mr. Gates and said that the proposal will be duly considered. Similarly, Mr. Gates also expressed his desire to extend help in Swach Bharat abhiyan and health related programmes. Shri Jaitley appreciated the work done by BMGF for the people at large in the field of health care, sanitation and financial inclusion. Mr. 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. Meanwhile, 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 Shri M.Venkaiah Naidu and Shri Bill Gates today held extensive discussion on the magnitude of providing toilets to every household in the country. Shri Gates enquired about the Government of India’s sanitation initiatives and the requirement of toilets. Shri 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. Shri 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 Shri 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, Shri 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. Shri Venkaiah Naidu has complimented Shri 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 (Shri Bill Gates) are a shining example in this regard.’ Gates Foundation announced USD 7 lakh for J&K relief operations Mr. Bill Gates, Co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation today announced emergency relief of USD 7 lakh for the flood victims of Jammu & Kashmir, in response to a request for his home state from Dr. Jitendra Singh, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, MoS in Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Space & Atomic Energy. The announcement was made by Mr. Bill Gates when he called on Dr. Jitendra Singh here today to discuss mutually shared areas of interest.  Dr. Jitendra Singh and Mr. Bill Gates talked about shared areas of focus, including the existing Memorandum of Understanding between the Foundation and the Department of Biotechnology/ Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) for their Grand Challenges initiative. This initiative promotes Indian Innovations in the areas such as sanitation and malnutrition, to help all children survive, thrive and reach their full potential. Mr. Bill Gates said, “I share the Minister’s belief in the power of technology to change the world and I applaud his commitment to harnessing the power of Indian innovation to save lives, through initiatives such as Reinvent The Toilet Challenge: India”.

About Sanjay Trivedi

Sanjay Trivedi is honorary editor of Asia Times. He is senior Indian Journalist having vast experience of 25 years. He worked in Janmabhoomi, Vyapar, Divya Bhaskar etc. newspapers and TV9 Channel as well as www.news4education.com. He also served as Media Officer in Gujarat Technological University.

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