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Amid a sharp spike in COVID-19 cases fuelled by Omicron variant, several government programmes have either been postponed or moved to virtual mode.

The Union Ministry for Youth Affairs and Sports has decided to organise the 25th National Youth Festival on the virtual platform from January 12-13 in view of the spike in Covid cases.

The mega event was earlier scheduled to be held in Puducherry from January 12 to January 16.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will virtually inaugurate the festival and address the participants on January 12.

Ahead of the event, Youth Affairs and Sports Minister Anurag Thakur on Sunday called upon the country’s youth to share ideas for the prime minister’s speech.

My young friends, do you have a great idea that you’d like PM @narendramodi ji to speak about? Share your ideas for PM Modi’s speech at 25th National Youth Festival on 12th January 2022, the minister tweeted.

The venue of Puducherry for organising the festival had been handpicked by the prime minister, a ministry official said.

Besides, the 30th edition of the New Delhi World Book Fair (NDWBF), which was scheduled to be held under the aegis of the National Book Trust at Pragati Maidan from January 8 to 16, has also been postponed in view of the latest DDMA guidelines imposed following the surge in COVID-19 cases and request from stakeholders.

The fresh dates for NDWBF, which was held online last year due to the pandemic, will be announced separately, the National Book Trust had said in a statement on January 6.

On January 6, the Gujarat government also decided to postpone the 10th edition of the Vibrant Gujarat Summit which was to be inaugurated by Modi on January 10. The three-day summit was to be held in a grand manner to attract investments and delegations from many partner countries, and CEOs of top companies were supposed to participate in the event.

The West Bengal government had on January 5 announced postponement of the 27th Kolkata International Film Festival (KIFF), which was scheduled to begin from January 7.

The announcement came days after KIFF organising committee chairman Raj Chakraborty and member Parambrata Chatterjee said that they had been infected by COVID-19.

The 27th edition of the Kolkata International Film Festival was slated from January 7 to January 14.

Announcing the schedule for the Assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Manipur and Goa with a strong focus on digital and virtual modes of campaigning, the Election Commission had on Saturday banned physical rallies and roadshows till January 15 due to Covid concerns.

The Commission, however, said the ban on rallies, roadshows, nukkad sabhas, padayatras and vehicle rallies will be reviewed on January 15.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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