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PM Narendra Modi to receive Goalkeepers award in New York on September 25

Goalkeepers is the foundation’s campaign to accelerate progress towards sustainable development goals.

Written by Abantika Ghosh | New Delhi | Published: September 20, 2019 5:03:10 am
PM Narendra Modi to receive Goalkeepers award in New York on September 25 Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will receive the Goalkeepers Global Goals Award from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) next week. Modi will be present at the two-day award ceremony in New York and receive the award on September 25, government sources say.

Goalkeepers is the foundation’s campaign to accelerate progress towards sustainable development goals.

Modi has been chosen for the award — one of the most prestigious awards in the development sector — for his government’s initiatives on sanitation, including the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, which was among the first programmes announced by him in his first stint as prime minister.

A statement from BMGF said, “Sanitation is a key factor in improving the health and well-being of millions of people, especially women and children. Globally, sanitation-related diseases kill nearly 500,000 children under the age of 5 every year. Yet despite its importance, sanitation has not received significant attention… Before the Swachh Bharat mission, over 500 million people in India did not have access to safe sanitation, and now, the majority do… The Swachh Bharat Mission can serve as a model for other countries around the world that urgently need to improve access to sanitation for the world’s poorest.”

This year’s Goalkeepers annual report heaps praise on India for its innovative use of digital technology to better people’s lives. “India’s pioneering of what is known as ‘the JAM trinity’. The J stands for Jan Dhan Yojana, an Indian government programme to help poor people open bank accounts. The A stands for Aadhaar, a programme to provide every Indian resident with a unique ID linked to biometric authentication like fingerprints. And the M stands for mobile phones, which are quickly becoming ubiquitous in India. Together, accounts, ID, and phones make it possible for the government to deposit money directly into people’s bank accounts and verify the recipients’ identity. This in turn enables the government to be much more precise and ambitious about policymaking,” the report said.

The report chronicles how between 2012 and 2015, the government used the ‘JAM trinity’ to shift gradually from subsidising the price of gas to transferring cash directly into people’s bank accounts after they had bought the gas at market price. “The fully redesigned subsidy, launched nationwide under the name PAHAL in 2015, is the world’s largest cash transfer programme,” the report said.

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