Thu, 06 Aug 2020

New Delhi [India], July 13 (ANI): Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Kiren Rijiju on Tuesday interacted with sports ministers and senior officials of 18 States and Union Territories.

This interaction was done over a video conference and the agenda is to plan a collaborative roadmap to further sports and youth-related activities across India.

"We had a very good enriching video conference with the states sports ministers, some of the ministers and officers have made very valuable suggestions, they have also briefed me about their preparations post-COVID to have sporting events," Rijiju said after day one of the video conference.

"We are having two days conference with state sports ministers, today was the first day, we had 18 states and UTs today as a part of the conference. We will come up with a solution after this two-day conference," he added.

During his interaction with state sports ministers, Rijiju also called upon states to create awareness about Atmanirbhar Bharat.

"The NYKS and NSS volunteers have done a commendable job working alongside civil administration during COVID-19. There are currently 75 lakh volunteers and we have decided to take that number up to 1 crore in Unlock 2. Prime Minister has already announced Atmanirbhar Bharat. As the country opens up, our volunteers will create awareness among all sections of society such as farmers, small business owners, and others, regarding the direct benefits that they can get through being self-reliant," Rijiju said.

"I call upon the States to promote volunteers and support them to work better. They will be working directly with the district administration with minimal intervention of the Centre," he added.

The minister further stated that the participation of states in activities related to the Fit India Movement has been encouraging, with more than 2.5 lakh schools across India enrolling to become Fit India Schools.

"I request all State and UT Governments to take an active part in including all schools in their States and UTs to register as Fit India schools so that fitness becomes a way of life for youngsters," Rijiju said.

On the first day, representatives from Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Chattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Kerala, Ladakh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttarakhand and West Bengal, participated. The other States/UTs will be at the conference on July 15.

Earlier it was announced that Rijiju will meet ministers in charge of the Department of Youth Affairs and Sports from all States and Union Territories in a two-day video conference on July 14 and 15.

The aim of the two-day video conference is to chart out the roadmap for grassroots-level sports development as well as the activities of Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKS) and National Service Scheme (NSS), across the country.

The agenda of the meeting includes a review of the action taken during COVID-19, as well as 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 UTs.

Inclusion of fitness and sports as part of the curriculum in all schools across the country will also be discussed. Plans to conduct Khelo India events and Youth Festivals later this year or early next year will be decided.

Rijiju had stressed that it is 'crucial' to strengthen the sports ecosystem at the grassroots level if we want to make it to the Top 10 countries at the Olympic podium in 2028. He had also said that Sports Ministry has decided to set up Khelo India State Center of Excellence (KISCE) in all states and UTs. (ANI)

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