Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Conference of the State Ministers and Secretaries for Youth Affairs and Sports

Conference of the State Ministers and Secretaries for Youth Affairs and Sports .Minister of State (I/C) for Youth Affairs and Sports Shri Vijay Goel has said that the dream of broad basing of sports cannot be achieved unless we integrate education with Sports. Addressing the conference of the State Ministers and Secretaries for Youth Affairs and Sports here today he said state governments will also need to enhance
funding for Broad basing of Sports and Excellence in Sports and provide adequate funds for maintenance of Sports infrastructure already created. It would also be desirable that funding of State and National Sports Federations are tied with measurable outputs and performances.

He said, the National Sports Policy 2001 lays special emphasis on “Broad-basing of Sports” through grassroots level sport activity and “Promoting Excellence in Sports” at the national and international level. It is essential to give adequate thrust to sport development so that it could permeate through other aspects of social life and make the youth health conscious, positive and productive.

Shri Goel said, with a view to realize the aims of the National Sports Policy that after wide ranging consultations, the “Khelo India - National Programme for Development of Sports” was conceptualized and formulated as a Central Sector Scheme to be implemented from the financial year 2016-17.He said, the Scheme aims at mass participation of young population in sports through annual sports competitions; identification of sporting talent; nurturing of the sporting talent through sports academies and creation of Sports Infrastructure in the country.

He said, the need of the hour is to put in place a system to identify young talent and nurture it (not burn it out) in a scientific manner so as to excel at the world stage. Accordingly, there are three components of the Scheme, viz., Annual Sports Competitions, Talent Identification, and Creation of Sports Infrastructure. The minister said, it has been decided to start a Talent Search Portal under the Department of Sports. The portal is intended to give a fair opportunity to talented children from every nook and corner of the country to pursue their dreams of achieving excellence in Sports. It is proposed to collect all relevant data in respect of those children under age 12 and from age 12 to 16, who are interested in Sports. The portal will allow uploading details of the performance and potential of a child including video and photographs by children, their parents, relatives, teachers and others. After due scrutiny, children with potential will be subjected to a battery of tests. Those who pass the battery of tests could be considered for admission into the training centres of SAI.

The minister said, despite this huge demographic advantage, in the recently concluded Olympics although India sent its largest contingent ever of 117 persons but got 2 medals only. Shri Goel said that he had a series of meetings with all stake holders including elite sports persons, NSFs, Coaches, Administrators, educationists and Journalists. In order to improve our performance in Sports, a Task Force is also being formed to prepare a road-map for the next 3 Olympics. He said, without losing any time, his ministry has asked NSFs to identify core probables for 2020 Olympics, their coaches and other support staff right away.

The minister said, many of our villages (6.5 lakh) don’t have playground, more than half of our schools don’t have playground and sporting infrastructure, most of our blocks (6500) lack some sort of sporting complex and half of our districts (670) do not have a stadium. It is an accepted fact that Sports suffers from paucity of adequate funds. However, this suffering can be ameliorated to no small extent if we are able to wisely manage the funds at our disposal.

Referring to issues of concern, Shri Goel said one area of serious concern is securing the future of our sportspersons. How many of us here are willing to put our children in sports today? Not many as we fear that future is not secure in a Sporting career. Therefore, State Governments should have minimum quota of 5 % for sports quota jobs and such persons should devote their time on sports rather than office work. Self-employment opportunities also need to be created for sportspersons.

He said, in order to expand the web of Sports Science support to our athletes, efforts should also be made both at the Centre as well as States to ensure that at least one university in each State has a sports science department to take care of the sporting talent in that state.

The minister said, presently, ‘Sports’ being in State List, role of the Central Government in the field of sports is confined to providing co-ordination and consultancy services to the States, laying down guidelines for National Sports Federations and employing its power of persuasion towards their improved functioning in the matter of coaching, selection and competitions, giving administrative approvals for participation of Indian sportspersons and teams in international sports events. However, given the worldwide acknowledgement of ‘Sports’ as a means to promote education, health, development and peace, recognition of sport and physical education as a “fundamental right for all” and the ability of ‘Sports’ to achieve National integration, Shri Goel said, it is imperative that ‘Sports’ is put right up there in the National agenda with other priority subjects. Nowadays, sports is a rapidly growing industry with the global sports sector estimated to be worth between $480-620 billion. However, in India, sport is yet to be recognized as an economic sector, mainly due to the fact that India has been unable to tap the industry’s size, potential, and the available opportunities that are on offer. There are also large scale regional disparity in sporting performances across the whole country. Some states are far ahead in the medal tally in national as well as international tournaments. Uniform development throughout the country and turning the talents into champions, cannot be the sole responsibility of the State. Since States can legislate within their respective boundaries, it is imperative that in order to ensure effective implementation of the National Sports Policy and to bring discipline and order in the management of sports and bring about all round excellence legislative powers relating to sports be vested in Parliament also by transferring the subject of sports from List II – State List to List III – Concurrent List of the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution.

Referring to the department of Youth Affairs the minister said, the focus of the Government is on youth-led development. He said, his is ministry has two large youth volunteering organisations, namely, Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKS) and National Service Scheme (NSS). NYKS has about 8.6 million youth volunteers enrolled through 3.03 lakh youth clubs and NSS has 3.6 million student volunteers in senior secondary schools, colleges and universities. The primary focus of these organisations is to develop the personality, character and leadership qualities of the youth through community service. NYKS and NSS volunteers are doing excellent work all over the country. He said, the government is committed to expand and strengthen these organisations. We intend to expand NYKS network in a manner that each village has a youth club affiliated to NYKS. Similarly, a noble programme like NSS, which currently covers less than 10% of the students eligible to join it, needs to be taken to all eligible educational institutions in the country. This can be possible only with the active support of States/ UTs.

Speaking on the inaugural session, the minister of state (I/C) for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Shri Rajiv Pratap Rudy said, his ministry will provide all possible help for the skill development in the sports sector to fulfil the vision of the Prime Minister for promotion of Sports in the country. He urged the states to send their proposals in this regard to his ministry. He said aero sports and adventure sports are some of the areas where skill development programmes can be taken up.

The minister of state for Information and Broadcasting Shri Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore in his speech said that excessive funds are not needed to win medals in international competitions such as Olympics but focussed approach and concentrated efforts are key to success. He said we have to remove mental limitations and broad basing of sports to win medals. The minister said, efforts should be made to utilize passion of Arjuna Awardees and former international players for excellence in sports. He said state governments must provide infrastructure and coach led Athlete centric Programme should be introduced to tap sporting talent. The minister said will the help of MNREGA money playgrounds can be developed at the Gram Panchayats level to take sports actively at the grass roots level.

Shri Rathore said operation of Sports federations need to be professionalised to produce results and preparations for the next Olympic must begin immediately at the state level. He said all states through stakeholders must identify top 50 players for training and participation in international events such as Olympics to bring glory at the right time.

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