Impressed by Modi’s commitment to fighting poverty: Bill Gates

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s commitment to improve health services and his focus on ending open defecation has “impressed” Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates who said it is “inspiring” to see India move to the forefront of providing such services to the underprivileged.

“Modi has India talking about toilets…This is not the kind of issue that most politicians like to talk about. But I would guess that in the short time he has been in office, Prime Minister Modi has done more to raise the awareness of the need for toilets than any other leader since the country gained independence,” Gates said in a blog post titled ‘Meeting the New Prime Minister.’

In the blog, Gates writes about his meeting with Modi in New Delhi last month when he and his wife Melinda focussed on toilets, vaccines, bank accounts and health clinics in their “more than an hour” long discussions.

“We came away impressed by his commitment to fighting poverty and improving health for India’s poorest people,” Gates said.

“This is an exciting time, not just for India, but for everyone who cares about giving the poorest people a chance to lead healthy, productive lives. With all the attention and innovation going on in these areas, from health to financial services, we have a fantastic opportunity to make an impact. It’s inspiring to see India moving to the forefront of these efforts,” he said.

Gates said Modi “made it clear” that he is “frustrated” with the slow pace of improvement in expanding and improving sanitation services across the country.