(Hon’ble Shri Narendra Modi):

Today, Shri Barack Obama, President of the United States, joins us in a special programme of Mann Ki Baat. For the last few months, I have been sharing my "Mann Ki Baat" with you. But today, people from various parts of the country have asked questions.

But most of the questions are 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. And therefore, the questions asked in press conferences, or discussed in meetings – instead of those – if we discuss what comes from the heart, and repeat it, hum it, we get a new energy. And therefore, in my opinion, those questions are more important. Some people wonder, what does "Barack" mean? I was searching for the meaning of Barack. In Swahili language, which is spoken in parts of Africa, Barack means, one who is blessed. I believe, along with a name, his family gave him a big gift.

African countries have lived by the ancient idea of ‘Ubuntu’, which alludes to the ‘oneness in humanity’. They say – “I am, because we are”. Despite the gap in centuries and borders, there is the same spirit of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, which speak of in India. This is the great shared heritage of humanity. This unites us. When we discuss Mahatma Gandhi, we remember Henry Thoreau, from whom Mahatma Gandhi learnt disobedience. When we talk about Martin Luther King or Obama, we hear from their lips, respect for Mahatma Gandhi. These are the things that unite the world.

Today, Barack Obama is with us. I will first request him to share his thoughts. Then, I and Barack will both answer the questions that have been addressed to us.

I request President Barack Obama to say a few words.

(Hon’ble Shri Barack Obama):

Namaste! Thank you Prime Minister Modi for your kind words and for the incredible hospitality you have shown me and my wife Michelle on this visit and let me say to the people of India how honoured I am to be the first American President to join you for Republic Day; and I’m told that this is also the first ever Radio address by an Indian Prime Minister and an American President together, so we’re making a lot of history in a short time. Now to the people of India listening all across this great nation. It’s wonderful to be able to speak you directly. We just come from discussions in which we affirmed that India and the United States are natural partners, because we have so much in common. We are two great democracies, two innovative economies, two diverse societies dedicated to empowering individuals. We are linked together by millions of proud Indian Americans who still have family and carry on traditions from India. And I want to say to the Prime Minister how much I appreciate your strong personal commitment to strengthening the relationship between these two countries.

People are very excited in the United States about the energy that Prime Minister Modi is bringing to efforts in this country to reduce extreme poverty and lift people up, to empower women, to provide access to electricity, and clean energy and invest in infrastructure, and the education system. And on all these issues, we want to be partners. Because many of the efforts that I am promoting inside the United States to make sure that the young people get the best education possible, to make sure that the ordinary people are properly compensated for their labour, and paid fair wages, and have job security and health care. These are the same kinds of issues that Prime Minister Modi, I know cares so deeply about here. And I think there’s a common theme in these issues. It gives us a chance to reaffirm what Gandhi ji reminded us, should be a central aim of our lives. And that is, we should endeavour to seek God through service of humanity because God is in everyone. So these shared values, these convictions, are a large part of why I am so committed to this relationship. I believe that if the United States and India join together on the world stage around these values, then not only will our peoples be better off, but I think the world will be more prosperous and more peaceful and more secure for the future. So thank you so much Mr. Prime Minister, for giving me this opportunity to be with you here today.

(Hon’ble Shri Narendra Modi):

Barack the first question comes from Raj from Mumbai

His question is, the whole world knows about your love for your daughters. How will you tell your daughters about youre experience of India? Do you plan to do some shopping for them?

(Hon’ble Shri Barack Obama):

Well first of all they very much wanted to come. They are fascinated by India, Unfortunately each time that I have taken a trip here, they had school and they couldn’t leave school. And in fact, Malia, my older daughter, had exams just recently. They are fascinated by the culture, and the history of India, in part because of my influence I think, they are deeply moved by India’s movement to Independence, and the role that Gandhi played, in not only the non-violent strategies here in India, but how those ended up influencing the non-violent Civil Rights Movement in the United States. So when I go back I am going to tell them that India is as magnificent as they imagined. And I am quite sure that they are going to insist that I bring them back the next time I visit. It may not be during my Presidency, but afterwards they will definitely want to come and visit.

And I will definitely do some shopping for them. Although I can’t go to the stores myself, so I have to have my team do the shopping for me. And I’ll get some advice from Michelle, because she probably has a better sense of what they would like.

(Hon’ble Shri Narendra Modi):

Barack said he will come with his daughters. I extend an invitation to you. Whether you come as President, or thereafter, India looks forward to welcoming you and your daughters.

Sanika Diwan from Pune, Maharashtra has asked me a question. She asks me, whether I have sought assistance from President Obama for the Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao Mission

Sanika you have asked a good question. There is a lot of worry because of the sex ratio in India. For every 1000 boys, the number of girls is less. And the main reason for this is that, there is a defect in our attitudes towards boys and girls.

Whether or not I seek help from President Obama, his life is in itself an inspiration. The way he has brought up his two daughters, the way he is proud of his two daughters.

In our country too, I meet many families who have only daughters. And they bring up their daughters with such pride, give them such respect, that is the biggest inspiration. I believe that inspiration is our strength. And in response to your question, I would like to say, to save the girl child, to educate the girl child, this is our social duty, cultural duty, and humanitarian responsibility. We should honour it.

Barack, there is a question for you. The second question for President Obama comes through e-mail: Dr. Kamlesh Upadhyay, a Doctor based in Ahmedabad, Gujarat - Your wife is doing extensive work on tackling modern health challenges like obesity and diabetes. These are increasingly being faced in India as well. Would you and the First Lady like to return to India to work on these issues after your Presidency, just like Bill and Melinda Gates?

(Hon’ble Barack Obama):

Well, we very much look forward to partnering with organizations, and the government and non-governmental organizations here in India, around broader Public Health issues including the issue of obesity. I am very proud of the work that Michelle has done on this issue. We’re seeing a world-wide epidemic of obesity, in many cases starting at a very young age. And a part of it has to do with increase in processed foods, not naturally prepared. Part of it is a lack of activity for too many children. And once they are on this path, it can lead to a life time of health challenges. 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. The Prime Minister and I have discussed, for example, how we can do a better job in dealing with issues like pandemic. And making sure that we have 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 so that it doesn’t spread. The public health infrastructure around the world needs to be improved. I think the Prime Minister is doing a great job in focusing on these issues here in India. And India has a lot to teach many other countries who may not be advancing as rapidly in improving this public health sector. But it has an impact on everything, because if children are sick they can’t concentrate in school and they fall behind. It has a huge economic impact on the countries involved and so 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.

(Hon’ble Shri Narendra Modi):

Mr. Arjun asks me a question. An interesting question. He says he has seen an old photo of me as a tourist outside the White House. He asks me what touched me when I went there last September.

It is true that when I first went to America, I was not lucky enough to visit the White House. There is an iron fence far from the White House. We stood outside the fence and took a photograph. White House is visible in the background. Now that I have become Prime Minister, that photo too has become popular. But at that time, I had never thought that sometime in my life, I would get a chance to visit the White House. But when I visited the White House, one thing touched my heart. I can never forget that. Barack gave me a book, a book that he had located after considerable effort. That book had become famous in 1894. Swami Vivekananda, the inspiration of my life, had gone to Chicago to participate in the World Religions Conference. And this book was a compilation of the speeches delivered at the World Religions Conference. That touched my heart. And not just this. He turned the pages of the book, and showed me what was written there. He had gone through the entire book! And he told me with pride, I come from the Chicago where Swami Vivekananda had come. These words touched my heart a lot. And I will treasure this throughout my life. So once, standing far from the White House and taking a photo, and then, to visit the White House, and to receive a book on someone whom I respect. You can imagine, how it would have touched my heart.

Barack there is a question for you. Himani from Ludhiana, Punjab. Question is for you ……:

(Hon’ble Shri Barack Obama):

Well the question is “Did you both imagine you would reach the positions that you’ve reached today?”

And it is interesting, Mr. Prime Minister, your talking about the first time you visited White House and being outside that iron fence. The same is true for me. When I first went to the White House, I stood outside that same fence, and looked in, and I certainly did not imagine that I would ever be visiting there, much less living there. You know, I think both of us have been blessed with an extraordinary opportunity, coming from relatively humble beginnings. And when I think about what’s best in America and what’s best in India, the notion that a tea seller or somebody who’s born to a single mother like me, could end up leading our countries, is an extraordinary example of the opportunities that exist within our countries. Now I think, a part of what motivates both you and I, is the belief that there are millions of children out there who have the same potential but may not have the same education, may not be getting exposed to opportunities in the same way, and so a part of our job, a part of government’s job is that young people who have talent, and who have drive and are willing to work for, are able to succeed. And that’s why we are emphasizing school, higher education. Making sure that children are healthy and making sure those opportunities are available to children of all backgrounds, girls and boys, people of all religious faiths and of all races in the United States is so important. Because you never know who might be the next Prime Minister of India, or who might be the next President of United States. They might not always look the part right off the bat. And they might just surprise you if you give them the chance.

(Hon’ble Shri Narendra Modi):

Thank you Barack.

Himani from Ludhiana has also asked me this question – did I ever imagine I would reach this high office?

No. I never imagined it. Because, as Barack said, I come from a very ordinary family. But for a long time, I have been telling everyone, never dream of becoming something. If you wish to dream, dream of doing something. When we do something, we get satisfaction, and also get inspiration to do something new. If we only dream of becoming something, and cannot fulfil the dream, then we only get disappointed. And therefore, I never dreamt of becoming something. Even today, I have no dream of becoming something. But I do dream of doing something. Serving Mother India, serving 125 crore Indians, there can be no greater dream than this. That is what I have to do. I am thankful to Himani.

There is a question for Barack from Omprakash. Omprakash is studying Sanskrit at JNU. He belongs to Jhunjunu, Rajasthan. Om Prakash is convener of special centre for Sanskrit Studies in JNU.

(Hon’ble Shri Barack Obama):

Well this is a very interesting question. His question is, the youth of the new generation is a global citizen. He is not limited by time or boundaries. In such a situation what should be the approach by our leadership, governments as well as societies at large.

I think this is a very important question. When I look at this generation that is coming up, they are exposed to the world in ways that you and I could hardly imagine. They have the world at their fingertips, literally. They can, using their mobile phone, get information and images from all around the world and that’s extraordinarily powerful. And what that means, I think is that, governments and leaders cannot simply try to govern, or rule, by a top-down strategy. But rather have to reach out to people in an inclusive way, and an open way, and a transparent way. And engage in a dialogue with citizens, about the direction of their country. And one of the great things about India and the United States is that we are both open societies. And we have confidence and faith that when citizens have information, and there is a vigorous debate, that over time even though sometimes democracy is frustrating, the best decisions and the most stable societies emerge and the most prosperous societies emerge. And new ideas are constantly being exchanged. And technology today I think facilitates that, not just within countries, but across countries. And so, I have much greater faith in India and the United States, countries that are open information societies, in being able to succeed and thrive in this New Information Age; than closed societies that try to control the information that citizens receive. Because ultimately that’s no longer possible. Information will flow inevitably, one way or the other, and we want to make sure we are fostering a healthy debate and a good conversation between all peoples.

(Hon’ble Shri Narendra Modi):

Omprakash wants me too, to answer the question that has been asked to Barack.

Barack has given a very good answer. It is inspiring. I will only say, that once upon a time, there were people inspired primarily by the Communist ideology. They gave a call: Workers of the world, Unite. This slogan lasted for several decades. I believe, looking at the strength and reach of today's youth, I would say, Youth, Unite the world. I believe they have the strength and they can do it.

The next question is from CA Pikashoo Mutha from Mumbai, and he asks me, which American leader has inspired you

When I was young, I used to see Kennedy's pictures in Indian newspapers. His personality was very impressive. But your question is, who has inspired me. I liked reading as a child. And I got an opportunity to read the biography of Benjamin Franklin. He lived in the eighteenth century. And he was not an American President. But his biography is so inspiring – how a person can intelligently try to change his life.

If we feel excessively sleepy, how can we reduce that?

If we feel like eating too much, how can we work towards eating less?

If people get upset with you that cannot meet them, because of the pressure of work, then how to solve this problem?

He has addressed such issues in his biography. And I tell everyone, we should read Benjamin Franklin's biography. Even today, it inspires me. And Benjamin Franklin had a multi-dimensional personality. He was a politician, he was a political scientist, he was a social worker, he was a diplomat. And he came from an ordinary family. He could not even complete his education. But till today, his thoughts have an impact on American life. I find his life truly inspiring. And I tell you too, if you read his biography, you will find ways to transform your life too. And he has talked about simple things. So I feel you will be inspired as much as I have been.

There is a question for Barack, from Monika Bhatia.

(Hon’ble Shri Barack Obama):

Well the question is “As leaders of two major economies, what inspires you and makes you smile at the end of a bad day at work?”

And that is a very good question. I say sometimes, that the only problems that come to my desk are the ones that nobody else solves. If they were easy questions, then somebody else would have solved them before they reached me. So there are days when it’s tough and frustrating. And that’s true in Foreign Affairs. That is true in Domestic Affairs. But I tell you what inspires me, and I don’t know Mr. Prime Minister if you share this view - almost every day I meet somebody who tells me, “You made a difference in my life.”

So they’ll say, “The Health-Care law that you passed, saved my child who didn’t have health insurance.” And they were able to get an examination from a Physician, and they caught an early tumour, and now he is doing fine.

Or they will say “You helped me save my home during the economic crisis.”

Or they’ll say, “I couldn’t afford college, and the program you set up has allowed me to go to the university.”

And sometimes they are thanking you for things that you did four or five years ago. Sometimes they are thanking you for things you don’t even remember, or you’re not thinking about that day. But it is a reminder of what you said earlier, which is, if you focus on getting things done as opposed to just occupying an office or maintaining power, then the satisfaction that you get is unmatched. And the good thing about service is that anybody can do it. If you are helping somebody else, the satisfaction that you can get from that, I think, exceeds anything else that you can do. And that’s usually what makes me inspired to do more, and helps get through the challenges and difficulties that we all have. Because obviously we are not the only people with bad days at work. I think everybody knows what it is like to have a bad day at work. You just have to keep on working through it. Eventually you make a difference.

(Hon’ble Shri Narendra Modi):

Indeed Barack has spoken words from the heart (Mann Ki Baat). Whatever position we may hold, we are human too. Simple things can inspire us. I also wish to narrate an experience. For many years, I was like an ascetic. I got food at other people's homes. Whoever invited me, used to feed me as well. Once a family invited me over for a meal, repeatedly. I would not go, because I felt they are too poor, and if I go to eat at their place, I will become a burden on them. But eventually, I had to bow to their request and love. And I went to eat a meal at their home. It was a small hut, where we sat down to eat. They offered me roti made of bajra (millet), and mik. Their young child was looking at the milk. I felt, the child has never even seen milk. So I gave that small bowl of milk to the child. And he drank it within seconds. His family members were angry with him. And I felt that perhaps that child has never had any milk, apart from his mother's milk. And maybe, they had bought milk so that I could have a good meal. This incident inspired me a lot. A poor person living in a hut could think so much about my well-being. So I should devote my life to their service. So these are the things that serve as inspiration. And Barack has also spoken about what can touch the heart.

I am thankful to Barack, he has given so much time. And I am thankful to my countrymen for listening to Mann Ki Baat. I know radio reaches every home and every lane of India. And this Mann Ki Baat, this special Mann Ki Baat will echo forever.

I have an idea. I share it with you. There should be an e-book made of the talk between Barack and me today. I hope the organizers of Mann Ki Baat will release this e-book. And to you all, who have listened to Mann Ki Baat, I also say, do participate in this. And the best hundred thoughts that emerge out of this, will also be added to this e-book. And I want you to write to us on Twitter, on Facebook, or online, using the hashtag #YesWeCan.

• Eliminate Poverty - #YesWeCan • Quality Healthcare to All - #YesWeCan • Youth empowered with Education - #YesWeCan • Jobs for All - #YesWeCan • End to Terrorism - #YesWeCan • Global Peace and Progress - #YesWeCan

I want you to send your thoughts, experiences and feelings after listening to Mann Ki Baat. From them, we will select the best hundred, and we will add them to the book containing the talk that Barack and I have had. And I believe, this will truly become, the Mann Ki Baat of us all.

Once again, a big thank you to Barack. And to all of you. Barack's visit to India on this pious occasion of 26th January, is a matter of pride for me and for the country.

Thank you very much.

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“If today the world thinks India is ready to take a big leap, it has a powerful launchpad of 10 years behind it”
“Today 21st century India has stopped thinking small. What we do today is the best and biggest”
“Trust in government and system is increasing in India”
“Government offices are no longer a problem but are becoming allies of the countrymen”
“Our government created infrastructure keeping the villages in mind”
“By curbing corruption, we have ensured that the benefits of development are distributed equally to every region of India”
“We believe in Governance of Saturation, not Politics of Scarcity”
“Our government is moving ahead keeping the principle of Nation First paramount”
“We have to prepare 21st century India for its coming decades today itself”
“India is the Future”

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi addressed the News 9 Global Summit in New Delhi today. The theme of the Summit is ‘India: Poised for the Big Leap’.

Addressing the gathering, the Prime Minister said TV 9’s reporting team represents the diversity of India. Their multi-language news platforms made TV 9 a representative of India's vibrant democracy, the Prime Minister said.

The Prime Minister threw light on the theme of the Summit - ‘India: Poised for the Big Leap’, and underlined that a big leap can be taken only when one is filled with passion and enthusiasm. He said that the theme highlights India’s self-confidence and aspirations owing to the creation of a launchpad of 10 years. In these 10 years, the Prime Minister said, the mindset, self-confidence and good governance have been the major factors of transformation.

The Prime Minister underlined the centrality of the commission citizen in the destiny of India. He emphasized that a mindset of defeat can not lead to victory, in this light, he said that the change in mindset and leap that India has taken is incredible. PM Modi recalled the negative view exposed by the leadership of the past and the overhang of corruption, scams, policy paralysis and dynasty politics had shook the foundation of the nation. The Prime Minister mentioned the turnaround and India entering into the top 5 economies of the world. “India of 21st century India does not think small. Whatever we do, we do best and biggest. World is amazed and sees the benefit of moving with India”, he said.

Highlighting the achievements of the last 10 years compared to the ten years before 2014, the Prime Minister mentioned the record increase in FDI from 300 billion US dollars to 640 billion US dollars, India’s digital revolution, trust in India’s Covid vaccine and the growing number of taxpayers in the country which symbolizes the increasing trust of the people in the government. Speaking about mutual fund investments in the country, the Prime Minister informed that people had invested Rs 9 lakh crore in 2014 while 2024 has seen a meteoric rise to Rs 52 lakh crores. “This proves to the citizens that the nation is moving forward with strength”, PM Modi continued, “The level of trust toward self and the government is equal.”

The Prime Minister said that the government's work culture and governance are the cause of this turn-around. “Government offices are no longer a problem but are becoming allies of the countrymen”, he said.

The Prime Minister said that for this leap, a change of gear was needed. He gave examples of long pending projects such as Saryu Canal Project in Uttar Pradesh, Sardar Sarovar Yojana, and Krishna Koena Pariyojana of Maharashtra which were lying pending for decades and were completed by the government. The Prime Minister drew attention to the Atal Tunnel whose foundation stone was laid in 2002 but remained incomplete till 2014, and it was the present government that accomplished the work with its inauguration in 2020. He also gave the example of Bogibeel Bridge in Assam, commissioned in 1998 but finally completed 20 years later in 2018, and Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor commissioned in 2008 but completed 15 years later in 2023. “Hundreds of such pending projects were completed after the present government came to power in 2014”, he added. The Prime Minister also explained the impact of regular monitoring of the big projects under PRAGATI and informed that in the last 10 years projects worth 17 lakh crore have been reviewed under the mechanism. The Prime Minister gave examples of a few projects that were completed very quickly such as Atal Setu, Parliament Building, Jammu AIIMS, Rajkot AIIMs, IIM Sambalpur, New terminal of Trichy Airport, IIT Bhilai, Goa Airport, undersea cable up to Lakshadweep, Banas Dairy at Varanasi, Dwarka Sudarshan Setu. Foundation stones of all these projects were laid by the Prime Minister and he dedicated them to the nation also. “When there is willpower and respect for the taxpayers' money, only then the nation moves forward and gets ready for a big leap”, he added.

The Prime Minister illustrated the scale by listing the activities of just one week. He mentioned a massive educational push from Jammu with dozens of higher education institutes like IIT, IIMs and IIIT on 20th February, on 24 th February he dedicated 5 AIIMs from Rajkot, and more than 2000 projects including revamping more than 500 Amrit Stations was done this morning. This streak will continue during his visit to three states in the coming two days, he informed. “We lagged in the first, second and third revolutions, now we have to lead the world in the fourth revolution”, the Prime Minister said.

He continued by furnishing the details of the nation's progress. He gave figures like 2 new colleges daily, a new university every week, 55 patents and 600 trademarks every day, 1.5 lakh Mudra loans daily, 37 startups daily, daily UPI transaction of 16 thousand crore rupees, 3 new Jan Aushadhi Kendras per day, construction of 14 KM road everyday, 50 thousand LPG connections everyday, one tap connection every second and 75 thousand people came out of poverty everyday.

Referring to a recent report on the consumption pattern of the country, the Prime Minister highlighted the fact that poverty has reached its lowest level till date into single digit. As per data, he said that consumption has increased by 2.5 times as compared to a decade ago as people's capacity to spend on different goods and services has increased. “In the last 10 years, consumption in villages has increased at a much faster rate than that in cities. This means that the economic power of the village people is increasing, they are having more money to spend”, he said.

The Prime Minister said that the government has developed infrastructure keeping rural needs in mind resulting in better connectivity, new employment opportunities and income for women. This strengthened rural India, he said. “For the first time in India, food expenditure has become less than 50 per cent of the total expenditure. That is, the family which earlier used to spend all its energy in procuring food, today its members are able to spend money on other things”, the Prime Minister added.

Pointing out the trend of vote bank politics adopted by the previous government, the Prime Minister underscored that India has broken out of the scarcity mindset in the last 10 years by putting an end to corruption and ensuring that the benefits of development are distributed equally. “We believe in governance of saturation instead of politics of scarcity”, PM Modi emphasized, “We have chosen the path of santushti (contentment) of the people instead of tushtikaran.” This, the Prime Minister said, has been the mantra of the government for the past decade. “This is Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas”, the Prime Minister said, elaborating that the government has transformed vote bank politics into politics of performance. Highlighting the Modi Ki Guarantee Vehicle, the Prime Minister said that the government of today is going door-to-door and providing facilities to the beneficiaries. “When saturation becomes a mission, there is no scope for any kind of discrimination”, PM Modi exclaimed.

“Our government is moving forward keeping the principle of Nation First paramount”, the Prime Minister remarked, as he mentioned the critical decisions taken by the government to resolve old challenges. He touched upon the abrogation of Article 370, construction of the Ram Mandir, ending of triple talaq, Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam, One Rank One Pension, and creation of the post of Chief of Defense Staff. He underlined that the government completed all such incomplete tasks with the thinking of Nation First.

The Prime Minister stressed the need to prepare the India of the 21st century and threw light on the rapidly progressing plans. “From space to semiconductor, digital to drones, AI to clean energy, 5G to Fintech, India has today reached the forefront of the world”, he said. He highlighted India’s growing prowess as one of the biggest forces in digital payments in the global world, the fastest-growing country in Fintech Adoption Rate, the first country to land a rover on the south pole of the Moon, among the leading countries in the world in Solar Installed Capacity, leaving Europe behind in the expansion of 5G network, rapid progress in the semiconductor sector and rapid developments on future fuels like green hydrogen.

Concluding the address, the Prime Minister said, “Today India is working hard towards its bright future. India is futuristic. Today everyone says – India is the future.” He also drew attention to the importance of the next 5 years. He reaffirmed the belief to take India's potential to new heights in the third term and wished that the coming 5 years be years of progress and praise for India’s journey to Viksit Bharat.