GUWAHATI, Jan 8 � Union Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Sarbananda Sonowal today said that it was time to harness the country�s youth power to the optimum level to make India stand in full might in the global milieu.
Speaking at the inaugural ceremony of the 19th edition of the National Youth Festival at the Nehru Stadium here this evening, Sonowal said the event with its vibrancy and energy would go a long way in promoting and strengthening brotherhood and national integration, besides providing a platform to showcase their talent in art, culture, drama and other activities of social relevance.
The onus is on the youth population (below 35 years of age) of India which comprises 65 per cent of India�s population, to shoulder the responsibility to innovate, create and be the leaders of the future.
Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi who was the chief guest, said that the festival would help youths from different parts of the country to mingle with each other and show the world that they are united and capable of taking the country forward.
�The event has once again proved that there is unity in India despite the challenges it faces,� Gogoi said before declaring the festival open.
The five-day festival, which is being hosted for the first time in the North East, is being organised by the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs in association with the State Government.
More than 5,000 youths from different States and union territories are taking part in the festival.
Minister of State (Home) Kiren Rijiju opined, �Strength and energy are the two characters of youth population of North East India, which we have not been able to channelise in the direction to the desired level. We need to inculcate positive energy among the youths of the country to help in nation building.�
�If the strength of the youth population is utilised in a positive manner, no one can stop India from becoming a super power,� Rijiju said.
�Let us mingle in such a manner that we are identified as Indians and not by our states,� Rijiju said.
Chairman of North East MPs� Forum PA Sangma urged the youths to come out of their respective states and interact with their peers from other states and that was how the best would come out from them.
A host of other noted personalities were also present on the occasion. The five-day festival will showcase a host of activities depicting cultures and traditions of different states.