Sonowal wants implementation of Sports Code, Jaitley pushes for emphasis on core sports

NEW DELHI: Youth Affairs Minister Sarbananda Sonowal has urged the states to help the centre in bringing transparency and accountability in sports by implementing the Sports Code.

Speaking at the concluding session of the Conference of Ministers of States/ UTs in-charge of Youth Affairs and Sports here on 21 March, he said his Ministry has taken several initiatives to keep sports free from controversies and corruption and it is his sincere request to State/ Union Territories to implement these initiatives particularly in reference to various NSFs.

Sonowal said his Ministry is working on Prevention of Sports Fraud Bill in its continuing efforts for cleansing of sports in the country. 

On the other hand, Information and Broadcasting Minister Arun Jaitley suggested that concentration on sports of core competence such as hockey, wrestling, archery, badminton, boxing and shooting can produce better results for the country in international sports events like Olympics.

In his address, he said past experience has shown that all countries cannot excel in all sports and a focused approach on sports of core competence has yielded better results for the countries world over. 

Jaitley said that an adequate infrastructure is needed and a system has to be created where Government and sports federations need to contribute to create infrastructure at least up to the district level for creating talent in Sports. Giving the example of cricket, the Minister said, “Cricket Stadiums are owned by Federations / associations and this practice has to be extended to other sports to meet the shortage of the sports infrastructure. State resources, efforts of the federations and CSR funding can do a lot for betterment of sports and sportspersons in the country.”

Referring to the issue of Management in sports, Jaitley said that while sports is a state subject, the Centre gives representation to the country in international sports. However, the actual management of sports is with Sports Federations. He urged the Federations to professionalize their structure for better management of sports in the country.

The Minister said that Delhi had adequate sports infrastructure due to various international events held in the past. “However, this infrastructure is underutilized. With a liberal approach people in Delhi and NCR should be encouraged to utilize these facilities properly for sporting purposes after making a reasonable payment,” he said.

Sonowal added that the Union budget has provided funds for innovative schemes. Funds have been allocated for setting up National Sports University at Manipur. He said, “Manipur is the nursery of sports talent and has given many internationals and Olympians. This will go on a long way in promoting sports in the North Eastern region.”

Similarly, Finance Minister has given a special package for promotion of sports in Jammu & Kashmir, which had suffered a lot. Sonowal said his Ministry will do its best to channelize the youth of Jammu & Kashmir to join the main stream and bring laurels for the country.

He also said that the aim was to tap young talent at school level and the Budget provided funds for launching of National Sports Talent Search Scheme to tap this talent with sports potential from schools and provide them support to achieve their peak of excellence in sports.

Another pioneering effort that is being launched is to identify medal prospects for the Olympic Games 2016 and 2020 and has given us the scheme called ‘Target Olympic Podium’(TOP) Scheme. The Finance Minister has further extended his support to TOP scheme by arranging a contribution of Rs 10 crore per annum for the next three years through a PSU under him, the Minister added.

The two-day meeting of State/Union Territory Ministers and Secretaries, which began from 20 March, discussed among other things schemes of Department of Youth Affairs and Department of Sports. During the course of the meeting deliberations have taken place on Rajiv Gandhi Khel Abhiyan, National Sports Talent Search Scheme, Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan, National Young Leaders Programme and National Programme for Youth and Adolescent Development etc.

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