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Actor Manisha Koirala, who had taken to yoga after battling with cancer, is part of a 24-member committee, which will now decide how schools, across the state, will celebrate International Yoga Day on June 21. The panel, which is perhaps one of the largest in terms of number of members, set up by the School Education and Sports Department, will also recommend how to sketch out the syllabus to include yoga festival. State education minister Vinod Tawde had announced last year that the Maharashtra government will observe ‘International Yoga Day’ on June 21.

The other members include Uday Deshpande from Samartha Vyayam Mandir, Dadar; Vishwas Mandlik from Yog Vidya Gurukul, Nashik; Abhay Bapat from Vivekananda Kendra, Mumbai; Gandhar Mandlik from Yoga Point, Nashik; Vaibhav Ubhare from Central Council of Indian Medicine; Deepika Kothari from Vishuddhi Films, Mumbai; Dipak Ghume from Arogya Bharti, Konkan; Ajit Oak from Ghantali Mitra Mandal, Thane; Subodh Tiwari from Kaivalyadhama, Lonavla; and Pramod Niphadkar from Yog Vidya Dham, Pune, etc.

The committee will recommend how schools will observe ‘yoga mahotsav’ and plan on ways it can be organised at the district and taluka levels. “The committee will need to see when schools are reopening and check when the rains will start and accordingly celebrate yoga festival. The committee will have to decide what activities the schools will organise,” says the Government Resolution (GR) issued recently.

The committee will also include Director of Primary Education and Director of Secondary Education, Maharashtra state government, Pune, and representative from the state’s Directorate of Sports and Youth Services.

As part of Tawde’s 100-day report, which included key decisions taken by his departments, the minister has listed the decision to implement ‘yoga day’ on the occasion of ‘International Yoga Day’ across all schools in Maharashtra.

In January this year, following a “request” letter from a little-known sports organisation with links to the RSS, the state’s Higher and Technical Education department and the Directorate of Higher Education in Pune had urged vice-chancellors of universities in Maharashtra to hold training and practice sessions of Surya Namaskar at the university and college levels between January 12, which is Swami Vivekananda’s birth anniversary, and January 26, the Republic Day.