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New Delhi, Delhi, India

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation led a panel discussion, bringing together experts and leaders to chart out the challenges and the opportunities to ‘make markets work for the poor’. The panelists discussed product innovations, regulatory and policy interventions, adjacent business models, addressing social inequities and other interventions that will create an ecosystem and provide accelerated access services to the poor to be able to lift themselves from poverty and lead a productive life.

Mr. Parameswaran Iyer, Secretary, Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation; Ms. Mirai Chatterjee, Director, SEWA; Dr. P. K. Joshi, Director, IFPRI; Sucharita Mukherjee, Co-Founder, KaliedoFin; Mr. Varad Pande, Partner, Dalberg; and Mr. Rodger Voorhies, Executive Director, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation discussed the market failures that hold India back from significantly improving lives of the poor, and how this could be changed.

Talking about the sanitation revolution in India, Mr. Parameswaran Iyer, Secretary, Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation said, “With strong political commitment, we have successfully decreased open defecation from 550 million to less than 150 million. Making India open defecation free is a Jan Aandolan – a people’s movement.”

Emphasizing the need to make strategic improvements to existing markets and open markets for new technologies and commercially viable solutions, Rodger Voorhies, Executive Director, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said, “Poverty can be addressed when markets, infrastructures, technology flows and regulatory mechanisms work for everyone, including the poorest women and girls. When these systems function well for all, they provide solid ground from which individuals, families and communities can climb out of poverty and create wealth. We’re happy to partner with the government of India to address the challenges to equitable access and growth.”

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation focuses on addressing the problems that most seriously imperil the health and well-being of the world’s poorest people. The foundation’s Global Growth and Opportunity (GGO) division advances this mission by helping to improve the financial, technological, infrastructure, regulatory and social systems that can enable the poor – especially the poorest women and girls – to more fully participate in their economy and their society.

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