New Delhi, July 13: Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju will be meeting Sports and Youth affairs ministers of all states and union territories in a two-day video conference on July 14 and July 15. This meeting comes to establish a 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 states have been divided into two groups over the two days to allow every state time to discuss the various issues at the meeting. 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.
There will be the inclusion of fitness and sports as part of the curriculum in all schools across the country will also be discussed. There will be plans to conduct Khelo India events and Youth Festivals later this year or early next year will be decided.
Speaking about the conference, the Minister said, “The country is in the second phase of unlocking now and it is important to have a dialogue with the states to align the way forward for sports and youth-related activities. During the lockdown, both the sports and youth affairs departments have been active and continued to pursue the larger goals that have been set.
Later on, he stated, "Despite the closure of on-field training, online training has been conducted for athletes of all levels as well as for coaches, so that athletes and coaches could remain close to the sport." He wants to assess the impact of all these activities and also plan the way forward, in collaboration with the states.
Rijiju believed that strengthening of the sports ecosystem at the grassroots level is crucial if India wants to become one of the Top 10 countries at the Olympic podium in 2028. The Sports Ministry has already decided to set up Khelo India State Center of Excellence (KISCE) in all states and UTs.
Further, 1000 Khelo India Centers (KIC) are to be set up at the district level to enable local talent to be identified and trained in 14 identified Olympic sport and traditional sports. Both the KISCEs and KICs will strengthen the grassroots-level sports ecosystem in India in a big way, and states have a big role to play in it. Also, the One State, One Sport policy that the government has made needs to be discussed and implemented early. "We hope to exchange ideas with all states to ensure that there is one collaborative roadmap towards making India a sporting superpower," Rijiju added.