New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday addressed the nation for the last time in 2018 through the 51st episode of the monthly ‘Mann Ki Baat’ radio programme. 

Modi, while mentioning all the milestones that India achieved in 2018, said that there is a lot of curiosity regarding the celebration of Republic Day on 26th January. 2019 will also mark the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

The Prime Minister announced on the radio programme that South African President Cyril Ramaphosa will grace the Republic Day celebrations as chief guest. He also said that Gandhi had an unbreakable bond with South Africa. 

Before Gandhi spearheaded the Indian freedom movement, he fought against injustice and class division in South Africa.

Talking about Food Safety and Standard Authority of India, FSSAI, Modi said that many programmes are being organised across India for Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary. 

Modi said that a clean and healthy nation will definitely prosper and for that, people should have access to nutritious food, which is essential for good health. He also stressed the fact that right from childhood one should be taught the importance of food.

Apart from food, Modi talked about healthcare in India. 

He said that 2018 saw the launch of the world’s biggest health insurance scheme ‘Ayushman Bharat’. The Prime Minister also remembered Sulagitti Narsamma — the midwife from Karnataka whose selfless action saved several pregnant women. He also mentioned the social endeavour of doctors of Bijnor in Uttar Pradesh who set up camps offering free treatment for underprivileged people. 

Modi, speaking on the nation’s reached tradition, mentioned the upcoming Kumbh Mela. He said that the mela is also a huge medium of self-discovery and urged visitors to share their image in social media. 

Kumbh Mela, which is listed in Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO, will begin from January 15 in Prayagraj.

The Prime Minister also touched upon how India has seen unprecedented improvement in the ‘Ease of doing business’ rankings, accomplished the Nuclear Triad and advanced in attaining swachchata and sanitation coverage. 

The Prime Minister concluded the programme by extending greetings for Lohri, Pongal, Makar Sankranti, Uttarayan, Magh Bihu, Maaghi to his countrymen. He said though the festivals have different names, the underlying or inherent feeling of celebrating them is the same.