Bill Gates says he's impressed with Nitish Kumar. Here's why
World's richest man, Bill Gates said that he is impressed with Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, a day after meeting him in Patna. The 64-year-old co-founder of Microsoft Corporation, heaped praised for Kumar, for the latter's concerns over and knowledge of climate change, and other complex issues. Notably, Gates is currently on a 3-day visit to India, to review work of his philanthropic foundation.
Founded in 2000 by Gates and his wife Melinda, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has been working in areas of healthcare, sanitation, agriculture, and financial services for the underprivileged people, in several countries including India, with an aim to eradicate global poverty.
While speaking at an event in Delhi on Sunday, Gates said, "Since you've mentioned Nitish Kumar, whom I have seen over the last 10 years, he has done a lot of work in Bihar with our Foundation." "This was the first meeting I had with him (after five years) and I didn't expect him to talk about climate change," the billionaire philanthropist admitted.
"When I'm in Washington DC or London or Paris, that's (climate change) a big topic. But I was impressed in Patna when he (Kumar) said 'we have a problem with climate change' and need to find a way to improve clean water supply," Gates added.
It should be noted that the Kumar-led government in Bihar runs the 'Jal Jeevan Hariyali' program to recharge natural water sources like wells and ponds, and also plant trees, in order to curb the ill-effects of climate change. Meanwhile, Bihar officials said Gates reviewed schemes for the health department where his Foundation is a partner.
In another statement, the Gates Foundation stated that Bihar has made great progress in the last two decades to eliminate poverty. "Over past 20 years, few places have made more progress against poverty and disease than Bihar. Compared to her mother born two-decades ago, a child born today in Bihar is more than twice as likely to reach her fifth birthday," it said.
Further, after the meeting, CM Kumar said, "We are pleased with our collaboration with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to improve public health services, community level behavior change, scaling up innovation across health, nutrition and agriculture." "Bihar is keen to continue its partnership with Gates Foundation to further strengthen sustainable systems across departments like health, social welfare, agriculture," he added.
Separately, on Monday, Gates met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the capital. After the meeting, PM Modi, in a tweet, said that Gates is "passionately contributing toward making our planet a better place." To recall, PM Modi was recently conferred an award in the US, by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, in recognition of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, launched by him.