Dr. Harsh Vardhan,Union Minister of Health and Family welfare today inaugurated the first ‘The Grand Finale of the Red Ribbon Quiz Competition’ organized by the National AIDS Control Organization and Ministry of Health & Family Welfare in the presence of Shri Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare.
Inaugurating the event, Dr Harsh Vardhan said, “It is a proud privilege and honor for me to be present here today as we observe the National Youth Day, 2021. We celebrate this day celebrating the achievements of our youth. This day marks the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda. His ideals have been the great source of inspiration for the youth in India”.
Emphasizing on the fact that India’s demographic dividends are in the country’sfavour, Dr. Harsh Vardhan said, “India’s population is considered to be one of the youngest in an ageing world. Median age has been on a decline. Never before have there been so many young people. Never again will there be a likelihood of such potential for economic and social progress. The measure of success will depend on meeting the needs and aspirations of these young people.”
He added, “In order to maximize the dividend, India is marching to ensure that its young working-age population is equipped to seize opportunities for jobs and other income-earning possibilities. A closer analysis suggests that good health, good education, livelihood opportunities and greater engagement at decision making shall contribute to improving the quality of life and can ensure that India enjoys the benefits of this dividend.”
Congratulating National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) for organizing first ever Red Ribbon club Quiz Competition, Dr. Harsh Vardhan said, “I congratulate NACO as well as State AIDS Control Societies for conducting quiz competitions at District, State and Regional level with a total participation of more than 5000 colleges across India. Quiz has been a quintessential method of knowledge generation among the youth. It helps them to skim through the existing knowledge while stimulating interest in learning about a new subject.”
He noted, “NACO has been implementing the Adolescence Education Programme since 2005 in collaboration with NCERT in more than 50,000 schools. NACO has also established 12,500 Red Ribbon Clubs (RRCs) to reach out to the college going youth. This programme is a comprehensive promotional and preventive intervention to harness the potential, specifically to mainstream HIV prevention, care & support and treatment, impact mitigation, stigma reduction and enhance Voluntary Blood Donation. Last Year, I also had the privilege of felicitating 300 best performing RRCs across India on the World AIDS Day, 2019.”
Dr. Harsh Vardhan said, “The current COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted a need for greater focus on wider determinants of health including hygiene, nutrition,positive mental health and psychological wellbeing for a healthy living. I urge you all to coalesce together and reach out to your known ones at times of distress. Together we have walked a long distance and shall overcome it.”
Emphasising on the importance of healthy living, the Union Minister said, “I want to reaffirm that one of the vital pre-requisites for a productive young workforce is Good Health. It is important that youth understand what healthy living is all about so that they get into a habit of making sound decisions when it comes to choices surrounding healthy living. Awareness Generation is fundamental to aid people in making informed choices. Thus, today’s event is important is terms of dissemination of information about HIV/AIDS and other health related issues.”
Speaking about the National Education Policy, “The Government of India has been striding in this direction and has come up with transformative policies endeavouring towards a newer India and better India. Our National Health Policy of 2017envisages school health programmes as a major focus area as also health and hygiene being made a part of the school curriculum. The policy gives special emphasis to the health challenges of adolescents and long-term potential of investing in their health care. The recent National Education Policy, 2020 which envisions making India a global knowledge superpower will help in refining the cognitive development as well as social and physical responsiveness of youth in India.”
Shri Ashwini Choubey remembered Swami Vivekananda and expressed his happiness that the youth of our country are working in the direction to achieve his ideals. “I have seen many youth polishing their skills and coming forward with new innovations during the pandemic and lockdown. Today’s youth is the future of the country. Competition like this will bring the best among the youth. Our Prime Minister has also given priority focus on innovation and capacity building”.
At the end, Dr. Harsh Vardhan reiterated, “The youth are the future and our Government is aiming to provide opportunity to you all so that you become the innovators, creators, builders and leaders of the future of India.”
Shri Alok Saxena, Jt. Secretary (Health) and other senior officials were also present at the event.