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Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to help in India’s “Smart Cities” initiative

New Delhi: The Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) has partnered with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to advance the Swachh Bharat Clean India Mission, launched by the Government of India on October 2, 2014. The MoUD has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with USAID and a Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. These agreements formalize a shared commitment to providing sustainable sanitation solutions in urban areas, eliminating open defecation, and safely containing, treating, and disposing of human waste. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will provide technical and management support for successful implementation of the urban sanitation program, including the set-up of a national Program Management Unit (PMU) within the MoUD. USAID will establish a knowledge partnership with the MoUD to identify and scale best practices, build technical capacity, and advance public-private partnership focused on sanitation. USAID will also link to the Government of India’s “Smart Cities” initiative, promoting water and sanitation as an essential element of sustainable and inclusive urban development. Commenting on the partnership, the Honorable Minister of Urban Development, Shri Venkaiah Naidu said, “The Swachh Bharat Mission seeks to realize the Government’s vision of a clean and developed India by 2019. We will work together with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and USAID to ensure every city and town in India has a world class, affordable, waste management system. The provision of safe sanitation is critical in bolstering public health and environmental outcomes for all of India’s urban population – particularly women and the poor.” “At the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation we believe that overcoming India’s sanitation challenge is critical to enable every child, no matter where they live, to survive and thrive. We salute the ambition of the Government of India’s Swachh Bharat Mission and are excited to cement our partnership with the MoUD and USAID, to help make that ambition a reality,” said Girindre Beeharry, India Country Director, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. USAID Mission Director John Beed remarked that “USAID is honored to be supporting the Swachh Bharat Clean India Campaign and to join in this new knowledge partnership with India's Ministry of Urban Development.  We are committed to working with the Government of India, states, cities, the private sector, and other partners such as the Gates Foundation to bring to bear the immense talents, expertise, networks, and resources of the public and private sectors to strengthen water and sanitation services across urban India. This partnership is one of many concrete steps being taken toward fulfilling agreements made at Prime Minister Modi and President Obama's first summit on September 30.” Estimates by the World Bank show that diarrheal diseases linked to poor sanitation and hygiene are responsible for over 200,000 deaths per year in India. The Swachh Bharat Mission aims for a cleaner and healthier India by 2019 and these partnerships are a significant step towards achieving this target.

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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