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Canada welcomes U.S and EU sanctions against Russian officials responsible for serious human rights violations

The Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today issued the following statement:

“Canada strongly supports the decision made by the United States and the European Union on the adoption of sanctions against Russian officials responsible for the arbitrary detention, prosecution and attempted assassination of Alexey Navalny using a chemical weapon. It is important to note that two of the four individuals targeted by the European Union have already been sanctioned by Canada.

“The sanctions announced today by the U.S. and EU are part of an important and incisive diplomatic effort to end impunity for those responsible for gross human rights violations in Russia, including those committed against Mr. Navalny and his supporters in the exercise of their basic democratic rights.

“The Russian government has violated a constitutional obligation to its citizens and obligations under international law, including access to fair and impartial treatment under the law. We call on Russian authorities to immediately release Mr. Navalny and all those detained for exercising their rights to freedom of speech and of assembly.

“Mr. Navalny’s ongoing persecution, along with an unwillingness to adequately investigate his poisoning, further contributes to the deterioration of the rule of law in Russia  and underscores the political motivations behind his imprisonment.

“Canada will continue to work with its international partners and through multilateral organizations to apply pressure on Russia to bring to justice to those responsible for these human rights violations, for the reprehensible treatment of Mr. Navalny and for the use of chemical weapons.”

Hong Kong Customs seizes suspected cannabis buds

 

Hong Kong Customs seized about 10 kilograms of suspected cannabis buds with an estimated market value of about $2 million at Hong Kong International Airport on February 25. One man was subsequently arrested on March 01.

     Through risk assessment, Customs officers selected an air consignment, declared as containing honey, from Canada for inspection. Upon examination, Customs officers found a batch of suspected cannabis buds concealed inside false compartments at the bottom parts of 18 wooden crates carrying a total of 216 bottles of honey.

     After follow-up investigation, Customs officers today arrested a 30-year-old man suspected to be in connection with the case in Yuen Long.

     The investigation is ongoing.

     Customs reminds members of the public to stay alert and not to participate in drug trafficking activities for monetary return. They must not accept hiring or delegation from another party to carry controlled items into and out of Hong Kong. They are also reminded not to carry unknown items for other people.

     Under the Dangerous Drugs Ordinance, trafficking in a dangerous drug is a serious offence. The maximum penalty upon conviction is a fine of $5 million and life imprisonment.

     Under the Ordinance, cannabis and tetrahydro-cannabinol (THC) are classified as dangerous drugs. Importation of products (including food or drinks) containing cannabis or THC into Hong Kong is prohibited unless the relevant provisions in the Ordinance are complied with. In order to avoid breaching the law inadvertently, special attention should be paid to the packaging labels of those products.

     Members of the public may report any suspected drug trafficking activities to Customs’ 24-hour hotline 2545 6182.

Rediscover, Reconnect and Revisit India and its Culture at ARTH – A CULTURE FEST

Rediscover, Reconnect and Revisit India and its Culture at ARTH – A CULTURE FEST

Riding high on the back of two glorious and successful seasons, Zee Live’s one-of-a-kind cultural festival, Arth – A Culture Fest is back with a bang, in the form of a scintillating third season. Making for a digital delight, Arth,this year, will be a virtual extravaganza, organized in Kolkata and will be live-streamed from 27th – 28th February 2021through the Facebook and YouTube channels of Zee 24 Ghanta & Arth-A Culture Fest. Viewers can register online at https://www.arthlive.in.

 

In the Kolkata edition, Arth – A Culture fest will bring to fore the very essence of East India. The audience can look forward to seeing eminent panellists from various walks of life, share their views, narrate interesting anecdotes, and share their perspective on much- loved topics such as the Bengal Elections, Women in Power, Reviving the Lost Culture of Bengal amongst others, along with paying a heartfelt tribute to Satyajit Ray & Soumitra Chatterjee, celebrating 125 years of Subhash Chandra Boseand the love for sports in the City of Joy amongst others.

 

Prominent speakers at the event includeHonourable Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar, Smriti Irani, Babul Supriyo, Nusrat Jahan, Swapan Dasgupta, Dilip Ghosh, Bratya Basu, Samik Bhattacharya, Abhijit Iyer-Mitra, Agnimitra Paul, Anjan Bandyopadhyay, Anuj Dhar, Anupam Kher, Ashoke Viswanathan, Atanu Ghosh, Bhaichung Bhutia, Binod Gurung, Chaiti Ghoshal, Chandrachur Ghose, DibyenduBarua, Dola Banerjee, Gautam Bhattacharya, HarshavardhanNeotia, Hirak Bhattacharjee, Ila Arun, Imtiaz Ali, Ina Puri, Irshad Kamil, K.B Agarwala, Madhabi Mukherjee, Manas Bhattacharya, MD Salim,Meghdut Roy Chowdhury, MoupiaNandy, Nandini Bhattacharya Panda, Purabi Roy, Rajat Kanta Ray, Ranjan Chowdhury, Ranjit Mallick, Sandip Ray, Satrajit Sen, Satya Vyas, Satyajit Chatterjee, Sharmistha Goswami Chatterjee, Shinjini Kulkarni, Shuvaprasanna, Srijit Mukherji, Sudeshna Roy,Sudipta Chakraborty, Sujoy Prosad Chatterjee, Sulagna Ray Bhattacharyee, Suman Ghosh, Ujjwal Kumar Chowdhury.

 

The festival will see artistes Nachiketa Chakraborty, Sujoy Prosad Chatterjee entertain the audiences with their enthralling performances

 

Event details:

 

Date:

    • 27th – 28th February 2021

Venue:

    • Live from ITC Sonar, A Luxury Collection Hotel, Kolkata.

Watch Link- https://www.facebook.com/Zee24Ghanta Time:

    12:00pm

 

 

For more details, please contact:

Shlipa Negi |91-97116-77211| Shilpa@moes-art.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Disclaimer- Names and Panels are subject to change

 

Schedule for 27th and 28th February-

 

27th Feb (Day 1)

 

 

 

Start Time

Session

 

 

12PM

Opening Address: Honourable Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar in conversation with Anjan Bandyopadhyay

 

 
  

12:45PM

Women in Power: Changing the Narrative Nusrat Jahan &Sudeshna Roy

  
  

1:30PM

                Rise of The Right in Bengal Samik Bhattacharya, MD Salim, M – Anjan Bandyopadhyay

  
  
  
  

2:15PM

বাঙালিঅস্মিতা-এবারভোটেরমন্ত্র! Cultural Nationalism Leading Up To The Elections Babul Supriyo, Swapan Dasgupta &  M- Anjan Bandyopadhyay

  
  
  
  
  

3PM

আজওফুটবলেবাঁচেবাংলা
West Bengal’s Undying Love for Football Satyajit Chatterjee, Manas Bhattacharya, Ranjan Chowdhury & M – Gautam Bhattacharaya

  
  
  
  

3:45PM

Make In India Success Stories: K.B Agrawala& M – Ujjwal Kumar Chowdhury

  
  
  
  
  
  

4:05PM

How the Search for Indian Food Changed World Culture
Nandini Bhattacharya Panda ,Hirak Bhattacharjee & M – Rakhi Purnima Dasgupta

  

4:25PM

চায়েরকাপেতুফান: Diving Deep into East India’s Chai Culture
Abhijit Iyer-Mitra ,Binod Gurung, M -Sujoy Prosad Chatterjee

  

4:45PM

আত্মবিস্মৃতবাঙালিছফিরেযাওয়াশিকড়ে
                   In Search of our Roots Shuvaprasanna, HarshavardhanNeotia, Rajat Kanta Ray, Meghdut Roy Chowdhury & M – Ujjwal Kumar Chowdhury

  
  
  
  

5:30PM

Your Best Day is Today – Book launch by Anupam Kher& Ina Puri

  
  

5:55PM

সৌমিত্র-একটিজীবন
A Tribute to SoumitraChatterjee  Suman Ghosh, Atanu Ghosh, Sujoy Prosad Chatterjee, Ashoke Viswanathan, Sudipta Chakraborty, Rituparna Sengupta & M -Satrajit Sen

  

 

 

Start Time

Session

 

 

12PM

One Woman, Many Roles: A Conversation with Smriti Irani &Anjan Bandyopadhyay

 

 
  

12:40

Rediscovering India Through Her Drapes-
Sulagna Ray Bhattacharyee, Agnimitra Paul &Chaiti Ghoshal

  

1PM

Netaji, A Man Who Inspired The World
125 Years of Subhash Chandra Bose
Chandrachur Ghose, Anuj Dhar, Purabi Roy &Srijit Mukherji & M – MoupiaNandy

  
  
  
  
  

2PM

Satyajit Ray In Today’s India –Ashoke Viswanathan & Imtiaz Ali

  

2:45PM

আন্তর্জাতিকসিনেমায়ভারতীয়মুখসত্যজিৎ  Remembering The Man who took Indian Cinema to The World –Madhabi Mukherjee, Sandip Ray, Ranjit Mallick, Deepankar Dey & M – Sharmistha Goswami Chatterjee

  

3:30PM

অন্যমাটিরসুরে: ইলাঅরুণ Influence of folk music in creativity by Ila Arun, Shinjini Kulkarni

  
  
  

4:30PM

Performance by Nachiketa Chakraborty

  
  

5PM

Jo bhimaikehnachahunbarbadkarealfaz mere – In conversation with Irshad Kamil & M – Satya Vyas

  
  

5:45PM

West Bengal’s Love Affair With Sports And Sportspersons Dola Banerjee, DibyenduBarua, Bhaichung Bhutia & M –  Moupia

  
  
  
  

6:30PM

বাংলারসংস্কৃতিপুনরুদ্ধার, ফেরাতেহবে ‘সোনারবাংলা’ Reviving The Lost Culture of Bengal Dilip Ghosh &MoupiaNandy

  
  

7:00 PM

A Spoken Word and Music Performance by Sujoy Prosad Chatterjee and Shibasish Banerjee

  

 

 

XXX

Government notifies Information Technology (IntermediaryGuidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021

Social media platform can certainly be used for asking questions and criticise

Amidst growing concerns around lack of transparency, accountability and rights of users related to digital media and after elaborate consultation with the public and stakeholders, the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021 has been framed in exercise of powers under section 87 (2) of the Information Technology Act, 2000 and in supersession of the earlier Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines) Rules 2011.

While finalizing these Rules, both the Ministries of Electronics and Information Technology and Ministry of Information and Broadcasting undertook elaborate consultations among themselves in order to have a harmonious, soft-touch oversight mechanism in relation to social media platform as well as digital media and OTT platforms etc.

Part- II of these Rules shall be administered by Ministry of Electronics and IT, while Part-III relating to Code of Ethics and procedure and safeguards in relation to digital media shall be administered by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

Background:

The Digital India programme has now become a movement which is empowering common Indians with the power of technology. The extensive spread of mobile phones, Internet etc. has also enabled many social media platforms to expand their footprints in India. Common people are also using these platforms in a very significant way. Some portals, whichpublish analysis about social media platforms and which have not been disputed, have reported the following numbers as user base of major social media platforms in India:

  • WhatsApp users: 53 Crore
  • YouTube users: 44.8 Crore
  • Facebook users: 41 Crore
  • Instagram users: 21 Crore
  • Twitter users: 1.75 Crore

These social platforms have enabled common Indians to show their creativity, ask questions, be informed and freely share their views, including criticism of the Government and its functionaries. The Government acknowledges and respects the right of every Indian to criticizeand disagree as an essential element of democracy. India is the world’s largest open Internet society and the Government welcomes social media companies to operate in India, do business and also earn profits. However, they will have to be accountable to the Constitution and laws of India.

            Proliferation of social media,on one hand empowers the citizens then on the other hand gives rise to some serious concerns and consequences which have grown manifold in recent years. These concerns have been raised from time to time in various forums including in the Parliament and its committees, judicial orders and in civil society deliberations in different parts of country. Such concerns are also raised all over the world and it is becoming an international issue.

Of late,some very disturbing developments are observed on the social media platforms. Persistent spread of fake news has compelled many media platforms to create fact-check mechanisms.Rampant abuse of social media to share morphed images of women and contents related to revenge porn have often threatened the dignity of women. Misuse of social media for settling corporate rivalriesin blatantly unethical manner has become a major concern for businesses.Instances of use of abusive language, defamatory and obscene contents and blatant disrespect to religious sentiments through platforms are growing.

Over the years, the increasing instances of misuse of social media by criminals, anti-national elements have brought new challenges for law enforcement agencies. Theseinclude inducement for recruitment of terrorists, circulation of obscene content, spread of disharmony, financial frauds, incitement of violence, public order etc.

It was found that currently there is no robust complaint mechanism wherein the ordinary users of social media and OTT platforms can register their complaint and get it redressed within defined timeline. Lack of transparency and absence of robust grievance redressal mechanism have left the users totally dependent on the whims and fancies of social media platforms. Often it has been seen that a user who has spent his time, energy and money in developing a social media profile is left with no remedies in case that profile is restricted or removed by the platform without giving any opportunity to be heard.

Evolution of Social Media and Other Intermediaries:

  • If we notice the evolution of social media intermediaries, they are no longer limited to playing the role of pure intermediary and often they become publishers. These Rules are a fine blend of liberal touch with gentle self-regulatory framework. It works on the existing laws and statues of the country which are applicable to content whether online or offline. In respect of news and current affairs publishers are expected to follow the journalistic conduct of Press Council of India and the Programme Code under the Cable Television Network Act, which are already applicable to print and TV. Hence, only a level playing field has been proposed.

Rationale and Justification for New Guidelines:

These Rules substantially empower the ordinary users of digital platforms to seek redressal for their grievances and command accountability in case of infringement of their rights. In this direction, the following developments are noteworthy:

  • The Supreme Court in suo-moto writ petition (Prajjawala case) vide order dated 11/12/2018 had observed that the Government of India may frame necessary guidelines to eliminate child pornography, rape and gangrape imageries, videos and sites in content hosting platforms and other applications.
  • The Supreme Court vide order dated 24/09/2019 had directed the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology to apprise the timeline in respect of completing the process of notifying the new rules.
  • There was a Calling Attention Motion on the misuse of social media and spread of fake news in the Rajya Sabha and the Minister had conveyed to the house on 26/07/2018, the resolve of the Government to strengthen the legal framework and make the social media platforms accountable under the law. He had conveyed this after repeated demands from the Members of the Parliament to take corrective measures.
  • The Ad-hoc committee of the Rajya Sabha laid its report on 03/02/2020 after studying the alarming issue of pornography on social media and its effect on children and society as a whole and recommended for enabling identification of the first originator of such contents.

Consultations:

  • The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) prepared draft Rules and invited public comments on 24/12/2018. MEITY received 171 comments from individuals, civil society, industry association and organizations. 80 counter comments to these comments were also received. These comments were analyzed in detail and an inter-ministerial meeting was also held and accordingly, these Rules have been finalized.

Salient Features

Guidelines Related to Social Media to Be Administered by Ministry of Electronics and IT:

  • Due Diligence To Be Followed By Intermediaries: The Rules prescribe due diligence that must be followed by intermediaries, including social media intermediaries. In case, due diligence is not followed by the intermediary, safe harbour provisions will not apply to them.
  • Grievance Redressal Mechanism: The Rules seek to empower the users by mandating the intermediaries, including social media intermediaries, to establish a grievance redressal mechanism for receiving resolving complaints from the users or victims. Intermediaries shall appoint a Grievance Officer to deal with such complaints andshare the name and contact details of such officer. Grievance Officer shall acknowledge the complaint within twenty four hours and resolve it within fifteen days from its receipt.
  • Ensuring Online Safety and Dignity of Users, Specially Women Users: Intermediaries shall remove or disable access withing 24 hours of receipt of complaints of contents that exposes the private areas of individuals, show such individuals in full or partial nudity or in sexual act or is in the nature of impersonation including morphed images etc. Such a complaint can be filed either by the individual or by any other person on his/her behalf.
  • Two Categories of Social Media Intermediaries: To encourage innovations and enable growth of new social media intermediaries without subjecting smaller platforms to significant compliance requirement, the Rules make a distinction between social media intermediaries and significant social media intermediaries. This distinction is based on the number of users on the social media platform. Government is empowered to notify the threshold of user base that will distinguish between social media intermediaries and significant social media intermediaries. The Rules require the significant social media intermediaries to follow certain additional due diligence.
  • Additional Due Diligence to Be Followed by Significant Social Media Intermediary:
    • Appoint a Chief Compliance Officer who shall be responsible for ensuring compliance with the Act and Rules. Such a person should be a resident in India.
    • Appoint a Nodal Contact Person for 24×7 coordination with law enforcement agencies. Such a person shall be a resident in India.
    • Appoint a Resident Grievance Officer who shall perform the functions mentioned under Grievance Redressal Mechanism. Such a person shall be a resident in India.
    • Publish a monthly compliance report mentioning the details of complaints received and action taken on the complaints as well as details of contents removed proactively by the significant social media intermediary.
    • Significant social media intermediaries providing services primarily in the nature of messaging shall enable identification of the first originator of the information that is required only for the purposes of prevention, detection, investigation, prosecution or punishment of an offence related to sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, or public order or of incitement to an offence relating to the above or in relation with rape, sexually explicit material or child sexual abuse material punishable with imprisonment for a term of not less than five years. Intermediary shall not be required to disclose the contents of any message or any other information to the first originator.
    • Significant social media intermediary shall have a physical contact address in India published on its website or mobile app or both.
    • Voluntary User Verification Mechanism: Users who wish to verify their accounts voluntarily shall be provided an appropriate mechanism to verify their accounts and provided with demonstrable and visible mark of verification. 
    • Giving Users An Opportunity to Be Heard: In cases where significant social media intermediaries removes or disables access to any information on their own accord, then a prior intimation for the same shall be communicated to the user who has shared that information with a notice explaining the grounds and reasons for such action. Users must be provided an adequate and reasonable opportunity to dispute the action taken by the intermediary. 
  • Removal of Unlawful Information:An intermediary upon receiving actual knowledge in the form of an order by a court or being notified by the Appropriate Govt. or its agencies through authorized officer should not host or publish any information which is prohibited under any law in relation to the interest of the sovereignty and integrity of India, public order, friendly relations with foreign countries etc.
  • The Rules will come in effect from the date of their publication in the gazette, except for the additional due diligence for significant social media intermediaries, which shall come in effect 3 months after publication of these Rules.

Digital Media Ethics Code Relating to Digital Media and OTT Platforms to Be Administered by Ministry of Information and Broadcasting:

There have been widespread concerns about issues relating to digital contents both on digital media and OTT platforms. Civil Society, film makers, political leaders including Chief Minister, trade organizations and associations have all voiced their concerns and highlighted the imperative need for an appropriate institutional mechanism. The Government also received many complaints from civil society and parents requesting interventions. There were many court proceedings in the Supreme Court and High Courts, where courts also urged the Government to take suitable measures.

Since the matter relates to digital platforms, therefore, a conscious decision was taken that issues relating to digital media and OTT and other creative programmes on Internet shall be administered by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting but the overall architecture shall be under the Information Technology Act, which governs digital platforms.

Consultations:

            Ministry of Information and Broadcasting held consultations in Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai over the last one and half years wherein OTT players have been urged to develop “self-regulatory mechanism”. The Government also studied the models in other countries including Singapore, Australia, EU and UK and has gathered that most of them either have an institutional mechanism to regulate digital content or are in the process of setting-up one.

            The Rules establish a soft-touch self-regulatory architecture and a Code of Ethics and three tier grievance redressal mechanism for news publishers and OTT Platforms and digital media.

Notified under section 87 of Information Technology Act, these Rules empower the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to implement Part-III of the Rules which prescribe the following:

  • Code of Ethicsfor online news, OTT platforms and digital media:This Code of Ethics prescribe the guidelines to be followed by OTT platforms and online news and digital media entities.
  • Self-Classification of Content: The OTT platforms, called as the publishers of online curated content in the rules, would self-classify the content into five age based categories– U (Universal), U/A 7+, U/A 13+, U/A 16+, and A (Adult). Platforms would be required to implement parental locks for content classified as U/A 13+ or higher, and reliable age verification mechanisms for content classified as “A”. The publisher of online curated content shall prominently display the classification rating specific to each content or programme together with a content descriptor informing the user about the nature of the content, and advising on viewer description (if applicable) at the beginning of every programme enabling the user to make an informed decision, prior to watching the programme.
  • Publishers of news on digital media would be required to observe Norms of Journalistic Conduct of the Press Council of India and the Programme Code under the Cable Television Networks Regulation Act thereby providing a level playing field between the offline (Print, TV) and digital media.
  • A three-level grievance redressal mechanism has been established under the rules with different levels of self-regulation.
    • Level-I: Self-regulation by the publishers;
    • Level-II: Self-regulation by the self-regulating bodies of the publishers;
    • Level-III: Oversight mechanism.
  • Self-regulation by the Publisher: Publisher shall appoint a Grievance Redressal Officer based in India who shall be responsible for the redressal of grievances received by it. The officer shall take decision on every grievance received by it within 15 days.
  • Self-Regulatory Body: There may be one or more self-regulatory bodies of publishers. Such a body shall be headed by a retired judge of the Supreme Court, a High Court or independent eminent person and have not more than six members. Such a body will have to register with the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. This body will oversee the adherence by the publisher to the Code of Ethics and address grievances that have not be been resolved by the publisher within 15 days.
  • Oversight Mechanism: Ministry of Information and Broadcasting shall formulate an oversight mechanism. It shall publish a charter for self-regulating bodies, including Codes of Practices. It shall establish an Inter-Departmental Committee for hearing grievances. 

Curtain Raiser for Workshop on “Good Governance Practices in a Pandemic” between Civil Services Commission (CSC), Maldives and National Centre for Good Governance, DARPG

A two-day international virtual workshop on “Good Governance Practices in a Pandemic” between Civil Services Commission (CSC), Maldives and National Centre for Good Governance, DARPG, Government of India is being organized on 23rd and 24th February 2021. In this workshop, more than 1000 officers are going to participate from Maldives side. Packed with sessions ranging from Leadership and Motivation, Health and Education in Maldives in a Pandemic, Health sector in India in a Pandemic, Job Skills and Tourism in a Pandemic, Interpersonal Skills and Communication skills, Digital Practices and Handling of Public Grievances to Problem Analysis and Decision Making, this Workshop plans to provide a platform for information exchange and knowledge dissemination.

This Workshop shall see the participation of Minister of Foreign Affairs, Government of Maldives, Mr. Abdulla Shahid among other esteemed participants from both the countries. Besides these high dignitaries, senior government officials from both the countries shall address the gathering through a virtual interface. The sessions are packed with a wide range of participants including high government officials from both the countries along with renowned academicians and practitioners from the given fields.

Day 1 shall see a day long academic exercise encompassing issues like Leadership, Health and Education sector and Tourism during the current pandemic that hit the world last year. To be moderated by Shri V. Srinivas, Additional Secretary, DARPG and DG, NCGG, the Workshop will be inaugurated by Shri Sanjay Sudhir, High Commissioner of India to Maldives and Mr. Mohammed Nasih, Chairperson, Civil Services Commission of Maldives. This will be followed by country presentation of papers and discussions till 6 p.m.

The concluding session on Day 2 shall see a Valedictory addressed by Dr. K. Shivaji, Secretary, DARPG followed by an address by Shri Sanjay Sudhir, High Commissioner of India to Maldives. The address by Chief Guests shall be delivered by Dr.Jitendra Singh, Union Minister of State for Personnel, PG and Pensions and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Abdulla Shahid. The event shall be concluded with a Vote of Thanks given by Shri V. Srinivas, Additional Secretary, DARPG and DG, NCGG.

19th VASANT UTSAV CELEBRATION SAI KA AANGAN, GURGAON

Vasant Utsav, the annual programme of Sai Ka Aangan, Gurgaon, was celebrated for the nineteenth year on Basant Panchami, February 16, 2021. The event was organized under the aegis of Shirdi Sai Global Foundation.

Each year, renowned artists are given a platform at the Aangan to offer their skills at the Lotus Feet of Shri Sai. Visitors not only from India but from different parts of the world, get to enjoy a plethora of cultural presentations in the form of dance and music. This year however, the celebration was virtual, considering the government restrictions on social gathering due to the pandemic. It was broadcasted for the audience through Zoom and the Aangan’s YouTube channel.

After a formal virtual welcome of Dr. Chandra Bhanu Satpathyji, Founder Chairman, Shirdi Sai Global Foundation, the ceremonial light was lit to begin the festivities. Vocal music offerings in Raag Pahaadi by Anamya Mongia from USA, ushered in the springtime merriment. The in – house staff of the Aangan carried out Shri Sainath’s Paalki procession following all government norms and social distancing. This was followed by melodious devotional musical renderings of Dr. Satpathyji’s compositions by Shirdi Sai Global Foundation Children’s Choir. With the environment thus filled with a festive adoration, a documentary reel on the experiences and reflections of the children of the Aangan, was set rolling. The cultural show ended with a vibrant Kashmiri dance performance by Aangan devotees.

In his discourse for the audience, Dr. Satathyji highlighted the customary celebration of Vasant Utsav at Sai Ka Aangan since 2003, wherein prominent artists have been recognized for their aptitudes. He mentioned that the Aangan is a ‘parivaar’ and children have undergone a holistic development while singing, learning, playing, painting and participating in various activities in its premises. This, in turn, has taught them to live life fruitfully. He thanked all who contributed towards the organization of the virtual Utsav.

The programme, which was compared by Smt. Jyotsna Rai and Shri Abhijit Narayan, ended with the Vote of Thanks by Ms. Kumkum Bhatia.