sonia gandhiINVC,
The year-long commemoration of the 150th Birth Anniversary of Swami Vivekananda formally came to a close today with functions organized at various places in India. The residuary activities may go on for another year or so. 
The main function of the closing ceremony was held at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi. Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh was the Chief Guest on the occasion. Chairperson, UPA, Smt. Sonia Gandhi, Minister of Defence, Shri A.K. Antony, Minister of Culture, Smt. Chandresh Kumari Katoch and several other dignitaries were present during the function. 
Speaking on the occasion, the Prime Minister exhorted his countrymen to imbibe lessons from Swami Vivekananda and learn to be tolerant of one another, have respect for all religions and dedicate themselves to the development of people and the country. He urged fellow Indians to be open to new ideas, new opportunities and new challenges. 
UPA Chairperson, Smt. Sonia Gandhi in her speech described the life of Swami Vivekananda as a life of magnificent achievements . She said several of our great leaders drew inspiration from Swami Vivekananda in nation building. Smt Gandhi said he believed in gender equality and lived to illuminate the life of others. 
Minister of Defence, Shri A.K. Antony paying glowing tributes to Swami Vivekananda said, Swamiji was probably the first modern Indian saint to understand the value of youth in nation-building. The Minister said, Swami Vivekananda never preached superiority of any one religion, but accepted all the religions and showed the way of unity and peace to the world. 
Culture Minister Smt. Chandresh Kumari Katoch in her address said, 54 proposals involving an estimated cost of Rs 253 crore have been approved and are at different stages of implementation during the year long celebrations. 
The General Secretary Of Ramakrishna Mission Swami Suhitananda also spoke on the occasion. 
The formal inauguration of this commemoration was held on 12th January, 2013 by President of India at a function in the Rashtrapati Bhawan Auditorium, New Delhi during which a set of commemorative postage stamps and commemorative coins were released. The Chairperson UPA, Union Finance Minister, Union Communication & IT Minister, Union Culture Minister and the General Secretary, Ramakrishna Mission HQ, Belur were present on the occasion. 


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