This year’s Yoga Day celebrations will also be an ode to Make in India. After the controversy over mats sourced from China for the International Day of Yoga celebrations last year, the Centre has decided that all items used for this year’s celebrations will have to be made in India.
State governments have been issued instructions that the items for Yoga Day celebrations should be procured locally as far as possible to encourage local artisans and small industries.
AYUSH Minister Shripad Naik said on Wednesday: “We will celebrate International Day of Yoga across the country with various functions. State governments have been asked to procure mats and apparel that are made in India for the events. Last year, at the record-breaking yoga initiative at Rajpath led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the AYUSH ministry was left red-faced following the revelation by top officials that the mats, on which the 33,000-odd yoga enthusiasts including the PM performed, were procured from China.”
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A senior official in the AYUSH ministry said, “This year we have been very clear that all items should be sourced from within the country, everything should be made in India. India-made items will be used at the ministry’s main celebrations in Chandigarh, which the PM is likely to attend. We are also procuring organic mats, made from water hyacinth, for the seven events in Delhi. The idea is to encourage local artisans and small industries.”
Naik also made it clear that while the chanting of “Om” in the common yoga protocol — which will last 45 minutes, up from the 35 minutes last year — is not mandatory, it is an integral part of the practice of yoga. “Yoga is not yoga without Om. But it is not mandatory to chant it. We are taking up the matter with those opposed to the idea, and trying to convince them,” Naik said in reply to a question.
Naik said that he would, if required, request the government to declare June 21 a holiday. “The time for yoga is early morning. It will take place around 8 am. There is no need for a holiday, but if there is such a demand, we will request the government,” he said during the National Health Editors’ Conference on ‘Yoga for Holistic Health — Recent Researches’ here. He also clarified that like last year, Surya Namaskar would not be part of the yoga protocol, given the complex set of maneuvers it involves.
Asked about the ministry’s budget for this year’s celebrations, AYUSH secretary Ajit Sharan said that every ministry is spending its own money. “If all of it is taken collectively, it may be hundreds of crores. But from the AYUSH ministry, the sum is around Rs 15 crore,” he said.