Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision of building toilets in every household by 2019 has found a fan in Microsoft founder Bill Gates, who praised the former in his recent blog post for being the first political leader in India to raise awareness about the need for 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 wrote in his blog on Monday.
Gates had met Modi last month in New Delhi, and had discussed the vision of building affordable toilets for the large section of the population that still defecates in the open.
"It may seem surprising when you think about all the innovation coming out of India, but 630 million people there defecate in the open because they don't have access to a commode," gates said in the blog post, which he later shared on Twitter.
— Bill Gates (@BillGates) October 7, 2014
Modi himself retweeted the post.
Gates said his foundation – Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation - also has a "big focus" on creating "good sanitation options" for people.
Gates spoke about his plan of designing "21st century toilets" to create energy and fertiliser from human waste.
"I talked about the opportunity to design 21st century toilets that don't need big sewage systems and water treatment plants. Our foundation has co-hosted two Reinvent the Toilet fairs, and I pointed out that two of the most advanced concepts are being tested in the Prime Minister's home state of Gujarat. Some of the potential new designs take human waste and use it to create energy, fertiliser, or even drinkable water," he wrote.
But it is not just Modi' vision of providing toilets to all that Gates seems to be impressed by.
Citing his hour-long meeting with Modi in New Delhi last month, Gates said that Modi "sounds like he's setting aggressive goals and pushing people to get them done quickly".
"He's having a lot of intense meetings with various ministers, asking them, 'What can you do in 100 days? Can you make your goals more concrete? More ambitious?'" Gates wrote in his blog.
Gates had earlier tweeted about Modi's Jan Dhan Yojana of providing bank accounts to all.
"Having a bank account is essential in building savings and escaping poverty — but today fewer than half of Indians have one," he said.
Alluding to Modi's leadership for the next five years, Gates said that this is "an exciting time" for India.
"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.