The 16 {+t} {+h} National Youth Festival that got off to a colourful start here on Wednesday reflects the country's vast diversities represented by young men and women from different States. For the first time, young men and women from SAARC and ASEAN countries are taking part in the prestigious annual event.

Vice-President Hamid Ansari, declaring the grand assembly of youth open at Maharana Bhupal Stadium, said the leading week-long festival would inculcate discipline, team spirit, togetherness and craving for social service among the young.

Mr. Ansari said the young people had the potential to work for development of the nation and they could promote unity among different sections of society by working for the common cause of progress.

“Young people should have progressive ideas as well as the passion for working in close association with others.”

The inaugural ceremony reflected enthusiasm and energy of the young in their dance, acrobatics and display of traditional arms with pleasing musical numbers. Manganiyar singers from western Rajasthan presented an enthralling performance for the host State on a bullock-cart, while other attractions were the folk dances from Punjab, Andhra Pradesh and Jharkhand.

In addition to the Vice-President, acting Rajasthan Governor Shivraj Patil, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, Union Youth Affairs and Sports Minister M. S. Gill, Union Minister of State for Sports P. P. Patil and Udaipur MP Raghuveer Singh Meena attended the inaugural ceremony.

After an impressive march-past, Mr. Ansari presented the National Youth Awards to 21 people. The award has been instituted by the Union Ministry of Youth Affairs for individuals who achieve excellence in different fields of national or social service.

  • Vice-President Ansari inaugurates the fest
  • Dance, music marks opening ceremony