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Maharashtra schools to observe `Bag Free Day' to celebrate APJ Abdul Kalam's birth anniversary
On the occasion of late former Indian President, A P J Abdul Kalam's birth anniversary on October 15 the government of Maharashtra has decided to observe Vaachan Prerna Diwas or Reading Day. It is being termed as a very unique initiative by state's school education minister, Vinod Tawde as students are told not to carry any school bag this day. The initiative was taken by the minister after the death of Dr. Kalam on July 27.

Also known as 'Bag Free Day,' the students in the city have been told to leave their school bags at their homes on next Thursday. Under the initiative, the state through a government resolution issued on Wednesday, asked students from Class III to VIII to read non-academic books in school. It also has also asked schools to organise book exhibition while executing 'gift-a-book programme.'

On this occasion the students will also get an opportunity to meet well-known authors from around the globe. The administration has kept a budget of almost Rs 6 lakh for the programme. And shifting importance from just academic books to other books, the office of the deputy director has asked schools in the region to allow students to leave their bags at home on that special day.

"Kalam's writings are an inspiration to students and youth. These activities will help students develop an interest for reading, which is sorely lacking. So we created the 'school without bags' plan for that day," said B B Chavan, deputy director, Mumbai region as per a TOI report.

"There should be no kind of pressures in class this day and a positive environment should be created. This way, students can read what they like and have fun doing it. Only then will the programme be a success," said the circular issued by Chavan.

Schools have also been urged to organise various activities like reading, hosting book fairs, organising teachers' meets once in a month apart from keeping the school library updated. The students and teachers will also be awarded by the schools for reading maximum number of books under this mission. However, Chavan added that the plan is not rigid and allowed schools to make adjustments as needed.

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