After severe criticism, the Government may have allowed schools and universities to remain closed and celebrate a holiday on Christmas, but several Ministries will observe the day as "Good Governance Day" or " Suhshashan Diwas ", and have announced programmes to mark the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Atal Bihiari Vajpayee on December 25.
Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) will observe the day as Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) Diwas and will commemorate 15 years of launch of the rural roads scheme by PM Vajpayee in 2000, said officials. "Minister for Rural Development Chaudhary Birender Singh will release a compendium of good rural roads built under the scheme, as well as a booklet, and a dossier on December 25 to celebrate 15 years of operation of the scheme. Other details are being finalised," said a MoRD official.
Union Minister of State for Labour and Employment Bandaru Dattatreya said the Ministry of Labour and Employment will observe "Good Governance Day" on December 25.
"Ministry of Labour and Employement will observe the day by focusing on important schemes for organized and unorganized sector workers, related to ëmployment generation, transparency in administration, and social security benefits," said Mr. Dattatreya, speaking to reporters at the Employee Provident Fund Organization on Friday.
Earlier on December 14, Dr. Mahesh Sharma , the Minister of State for Culture, and Tourism had announced in Raipur that the Minstry will launch new initiatives on "S uhshasan Divas" on December 25 to promote tourism with focus on cleanliness, hospitality and safety.
Officials had said that Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports has been asked to require the 2,70,000 youth clubs around the country under the Nehru Yuva Kendra to also celebrate Christmas Day as 'Good Governance Day' and hold half-marathons, eye camps and blood donation camps to mark the day.
The Central Government is likely to announce the Universal Health Assurance Mission, the NDA Government's big ticket health scheme offering fixed number of drugs and diagnostics services, as well as health insurance, too on December 25, said sources.
All BJP MPs have been asked to be present in their constituencies.
Churches express concern
On December 18, National Council for Churches in India (NCCI), an organization of Protestant and Orthodox Churches, had written a public letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi raising concerns that the government's plan to observe 'Good Governance Day' on Christmas which will require government offices to function that day showed "scant respect to the holy day of the Christians, Christmas."
It said that it was not against observing 'Good Governance Day' or honouring the former PM, but Mr. Vajpayee himself might not have liked his name to be involved in such a controversey.
The Ministry of Public Grievances and Personnel's list of holidays for 2015 lists December 25 as a gazetted holiday for govenment officials.