Union Minister Prakash Javadekar and Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant attended the International Film Festival of India opening ceremony on January 16. Actor Kiccha Sudeep was the Chief Guest at IFFI opening ceremony. Actor Tisca Chopra hosted the IFFI-51 Opening Ceremony. Actor, Director and Producer Biswajit Chatterjee crowned as Indian Personality of the Year. More than 200 films screened during the film festival. IFFI is one of the oldest and most significant film festivals in Asia.
While addressing a press conference in the national capital on February 28, the Information and Broadcasting (IandB) Minister of India, Prakash Javadekar said, "I am happy to announce that the IandB Ministry in collaboration with IIT Bombay will form a Centre of Excellence in Gaming and other related areas such as VFX and Animation. We are at an advanced stage of preparation and IIT will begin courses from this year itself."
While addressing a press conference in the national capital on February 28, the Information and Broadcasting (IandB) Minister of India, Prakash Javadekar said, "Many games played on mobile phones and gadgets are violent and addictive. PUBG was just one example of it. Criticizing isn't the solution. We must create our own games or apps that'd be adopted around the world for their values rooted in Indian ethos," he added.
India's COVID-19 vaccination drive entered its second phase on March 1. The second phase of vaccination drive began in Goa's Panaji with the arrival of large numbers of senior citizens. They appealed all the citizens above 60 years of age to get themselves vaccinated. The program of 2nd phase has been expanded to include all citizens above 60 years of age and 45+ with comorbidities. Also, the Co-WIN digital platform has been upgraded to its next version and private hospitals included to expand the vaccination coverage. While speaking to ANI, the health official of Panaji Urban Health Centre, "People above 45 years with comorbid conditions have to submit medical certificate. Past COVID-19 positive individuals have to wait for 3 months to get vaccinated."
A Chhattisgarh Armed Force (CAF) constable is providing 'Mallakhamba' training to children in the forests of Abujmarh in Chhattisgarh's Narayanpur district which is hit by the Naxalite violence. The tribal population is deprived of basic facilities like water and electricity even today. Overcoming all obstacles, four children from the district had made it to the final round in 2020 for the selection for a 'Mallakhamba' demonstration in the Japan Olympics, which was scheduled to be held last year but was postponed due to COVID-19 pandemic. CAF constable Manoj Prasad said he learned Mallakhamba in 2016 and has been training children free of cost since then. Speaking to ANI, Manoj said, "I myself learned Mallkhamba in 2016. From 2016-2017, I started training children of Naxalite strongholds who study in Pota Cabins. All children under my tutelage are tribals who were known as 'Abujh'." The coach also informed that four children have made it to the final round for a demonstration of Mallakhamba in the Japan Olympics."These children have a lot of potentials. All the children here are future Olympiads. With this dream, I started coaching them for free," Prasad added. People in Narayanapur have not heard of Mallakhamba before. But in only two to three years of practice, the children from the region have defeated many of the country's biggest players in Mallakhamba and won many gold medals. They went to Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Goa, and many other states to participate in Mallakhamba tournaments from 2019 to 2020.In November 2019, the children won the gold medal by defeating the senior group at the All India level. In March 2020, they won 8 gold, 3 bronze medals, and 4 girls featured in 'Best of Six' in India Under-14. "It was very difficult to defeat the Mallakhamba practitioners of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. Despite not being able to beat them for 40 years, our children had worked hard day and night along with their studies. Now they are number one in India", the coach further stated. Rajesh Korram, a class four student, who hails from Asanar village next to Jungle Orchha, said, "I have been learning Mallakhamba since 2018. I won the gold medal by defeating my senior player. I went to Mumbai for the first time on a train. Life has taken a turn for the better. I want to win a gold medal in Japan Olympics." Manu Dhruv, another Mallakhamba player, added he won 2 gold medals in Tamil Nadu. "There is not a good school in our village. These are Naxalite-affected villages. We used to climb trees and play Kabaddi. No one had heard Mallakhamba's name earlier. I started playing Mallakhamba in 2017, living in a porta cabin. Initially, I went to play Tamil Nadu and won 2 gold medals there."
With COVID-19 vaccines starting to roll out, Goa is celebrating the colorful Carnival Festival with full pomp and zeal. Float parade organised in the capital Panaji on February 13. Lots of domestic and foreign tourists flock to Goa to attend the festival. During the festival, wearing face mask and maintaining social distancing is mandatory.
Sudeep PR, a biker from Manippara village, Kerala is on a mission to spread the message of unity in the country. He began his All India Tour on November 3, 2020. Sudeep has covered 16 states in 100 days including Sikkim, Assam, Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland, Goa, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, West Bengal, and is presently exploring Tripura. Sudeep has been recording his entire tour and meeting with people under the theme of 'National Integrity." "My motto is to spread goodness and kindness to people despite the diversity of language, food, religion so the message of unity as India as a nation can go to the new generation," Sudeep said.
After announcement of Budget 2021-22, Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said, "I would like to thank Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman for mentioning 60th liberation day anniversary of Goa in the opening remarks of Union Budget, for the first time. I also thank for allocating Rs 300 crores for its celebration. The allocated amount will not only be used for infrastructure development but for human development under the Swayampurna Goa scheme as well. This budget has also given special focus to the blue economy of Goa which will be beneficial for the people here."
While addressing a press conference in Panaji on February 07, Union Minister for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Giriraj Singh said, "Goa has capability and calibre to become the fisheries hub in India. We had a discussion on investment of around Rs 400 crores." "Out of which Rs 41.47 crore has already been sanctioned for this sector in Goa," he added.