The Government has tied up with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to promote toilet use in the country, a statement from the Urban Development Ministry said on Friday.

To ensure universal sanitation in India with the objective of addressing sanitation-related health concerns, the Ministry of Urban Development and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have, in principle, agreed on a partnership to promote user-friendly toilets.

Bill Gates said the foundation’s core competency is research and technology promotion and would like to share it with the Government of India.

Further to the discussions, it has been agreed that the Ministry of Urban Development and the foundation would cooperate in four areas — innovative technology demonstration in respect of toilets and sewage management, promoting decentralised sewerage systems that enable disposal of sewage at habitation level rather than pooling of sewage, capacity building in sanitation sector and promoting the use of toilets.

About 12 million urban households do not have toilet facilities at present.