Home / Politics / Policy /  Modi, Obama talk social issues on ‘Mann Ki Baat’

New Delhi: A special radio programme featuring US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi was aired on Tuesday night, devoid of any hard issues like politics and foreign affairs but focused on social issues and personal matters related to the two leaders.

The 35-minute special broadcast of “Mann Ki Baat", which marked the bonhomine between Modi and Obama, touched on issues like girl child, public health and personal experiences of the two leaders, both of whom have risen from humble backgrounds to assume to top positions of the respective countries.

The programme, recorded on Monday, was virtually conducted by Modi, who read out the questions received from various parts of the country and both the leaders answered them.

At the outset, Modi said most of the questions posed by people were “connected to politics, foreign policy, economic policy. However, some questions touch the heart. And I believe if we touch those questions today, we shall be able to reach out to the common man in different parts of the country."

Obama, before answering the questions, said “namaste" to the listeners and talked about his discussions with Modi and how his country wants to be a partner in India’s endeavour to lift its billions of people from poverty. He expressed keenness to partner India in development of infrastructure and in provision of facilities like clean energy and electricity.

Obama was asked whether he, after the end of his Presidency, will work in the field of health care particularly addressing the problems of diabetes and obesity, like Bill Gates and his wife Melinda. To this, the US President said he was looking forward to partnering with organizations, and the government and non-governmental organizations in India, around broader public health issues including the issue of obesity.

He said his wife Michelle has already done a lot on this issue. Talking about obesity, he said, “This is an issue that we would like to work on internationally, including here in India. And it is a part of a broader set of issues around global health that we need to address."

He said he had discussed with Modi how a better job can be done in dealing with issues like pandemic and making sure that there are good alert systems so that if a disease like Ebola, or a deadly flu virus, or Polio appears, it is detected quickly and then treated quickly without spreading.

“The public health infrastructure around the world needs to be improved," the US President said and patted the back of Modi for “doing a great job in focusing on these issues here in India". He said India has a lot to teach many other countries who may not be advancing as rapidly in improving this public health sector.

“...we think that there is a lot of progress to be made here and I am very excited about the possibilities of considering this work even after I leave office." To a question on girl child, Modi said there is a lot of worry because of the sex ratio in India as for every 1000 boys, the number of girls is less.

“The main reason for this is that, there is a defect in our attitudes towards boys and girls," he said. In this respect, the Prime Minister said, the life of the US President is an inspiration, considering the “way he has brought up his two daughters, the way he is proud of his two daughters." He underlined that “to save the girl child and to educate the girl child is our social duty, cultural duty, and humanitarian responsibility. We should honour it."

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