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December 21st, 2009
Nearly 4 million people in India are affected by water-borne diseases every year. As many as 400,000 children die from diarrhea every year. According to a 2007 United Nations report, half of the world's hospital beds are occupied by patients who suffer from water-borne diseases. In India, such diseases cause more than 1.5 times the deaths caused by AIDS and double the deaths caused by road accidents.
The genesis of Swach — "clean" in Hindi — began nearly a decade ago as a corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative of Tata Consultancy Services, India's largest information technology company. Between 2000 and 2003, the company launched a water filter called Sujal and distributed it among several NGOs (non-government organisations). When the tsunami ravaged parts of coastal south India in 2004, these water filters were distributed in the affected regions.
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