Mumbai: Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports, Kiren Rijiju will be e-meeting the Sports and Youth Affairs ministers of all states and union territories for a two-day video conference on Tuesday and Wednesday. The virtual meeting has been planned for charting out the roadmap for the grass root-level sports development across the country and analysing the activities of the Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKS) and National Service Scheme (NSS).
Speaking about the meeting, Rijiju said, "The country is in the second phase of unlocking now and it is important that we have a dialogue with the state ministers to align the way forward for sports and youth related activities. During the lockdown, both of the sports and youth affairs departments have been active and have continued to pursue larger goals."
Due to the Covid-19 lockdown and in spite of the closure of on-field training, online training has been conducted for athletes of all levels as well as for coaches, ensuring that neither lose touch with their fitness and game.
Rijiju also highlighted that NYKS and NSS volunteers have worked relentlessly alongside their respective district administrations to help fight the rise of COVID-19 cases. About 75 lakh volunteers have been involved in creating awareness about safety and health guidelines, distribution of masks, helping the elderly among many other things.
"We want to assess the impact of all these activities and also plan the way forward, in collaboration with the states."
The agenda of the meet includes a review of actions taken during COVID-19 lockdowns, discussions on restarting sporting activities at the state-level, and identification of budding sports talent through competitions at block and district levels in states and union territories. Inclusion of fitness and sports as part of the curriculum in all schools across the country will also be discussed. Also, the plans to conduct 'Khelo India' events and Youth Festivals later this year or early next year will be decided.
"Strengthening the sports ecosystem at the grass root level is crucial if we want to realize the dream of making India one of the Top 10 countries at the Olympics in 2028 and we must start that process now. The Sports Ministry has already decided to set up Khelo India State Centres of Excellence (KISCE) in all states and UTs. Further, 1000 Khelo India Centres (KIC) are to be set up at the district level to enable local talent identification and training for 14 identified Olympic sports apart from traditional sports."
The work towards the ambition of excelling at the Olympics will begin at the KISCEs and KICs which are expected to strengthen the grassroot level sports ecosystem in India. The One State, One Sport policy that the government has made, needs discussion and early implementation as per the Union Minister. "We hope to exchange ideas with all states to ensure that there is one collaborative roadmap towards making India a sporting superpower," Rijiju added.
The states have been divided into two groups over the two days of the conference, to allow every state time for discussing issues.