Sports Ministers in India Review various Youth Affairs & Sports Schemes
Union Youth Affairs & Sports Minister Dr M. S. Gill has called upon the states to avail themselves of maximum assistance under Panchayat Yuva Krida Aur Khel Abhiyan (PYKKA ) and also to provide the higher budgetary support to sport in their respective state budgets. He was addressing the Conference of the State Ministers of Youth Affairs and Sports. Dr Gill also highlighted the recent initiatives taken by the Government of India to recognise and reward excellence in sport and provide assistance to states for the promotion of Sports for All. Shri Pratik Prakashbapu Patil, Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports was also attended the conference.
On the larger issue of central assistance for urban sports infrastructure, Dr. Gill assured the states that he would take up the matter of introducing a centrally sponsored scheme for urban sports infrastructure with both the Planning Commission and the Finance Ministry. He assured early action with regard to expansion of NYKS to remaining 122 districts.
Dr Gill expressed confidence that with the joint effort of the Centre and states , India could take full advantage of the huge dividend it enjoys on account of its large and growing youth population, which can be productively used not only for sports development but also for national development through participation of youth in the national building process.
Appreciating the State Ministers for their active participation in the conference, Dr Gill acknowledged the valuable inputs provided by them. He assured the States that their suggestions with regard to allowing greater flexibility in implementing PYKKA scheme would receive serious consideration and the existing provisions/guidelines will be modified to that extent. With regard to deployment of SAI coaches to states, he stated that their request would be considered favourably.
In the Conference , the issues on the sport side that were discussed includes PYKKA; discharge of committed liabilities under the erstwhile sports infrastructure schemes; setting up of an institutional mechanism for playing fields; Sports Authority of India's (SAI) activities at the national , state and district level; and the newly introduced scheme to promote sports and games among disabled. The main issues discuss on the youth side included expansion of Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKS) to remaining 122 districts, formulation of a new scheme for creating voluntary National Youth Corps and expansion of Youth Hostels.
During the discussion, the State Ministers expressed overwhelming support for the newly introduced scheme of PYKKA and informed about the progress made in the implementation of scheme in their respective State. Several useful suggestions were made on PYKKA, which included flexibility in choosing Pancahayat level Implementing Agency (PLIA), composition of state, district and block level committees, financial assistance towards travel costs in connection with participation in sports competitions under the scheme, grant of financial assistance to meet the administrative expenses on the implementation of the scheme, flexibility in the number of disciplines to be covered at block and district level competitions, higher level coverage in respect of North-Eastern and Hilly States, higher level of funding in hilly areas, financial assistance for training of Kridashrees, enhancement in the honorarium to Kridashrees. A few states cited the non-availability of open space in rural areas as a major constraint in the implementation of the scheme.
All the States unanimously supported the initiative of setting up the National Playing field Association of India and assured of similar action at the state level. A large number of States also conveyed their intent to protect playing fields through appropriate legislation, if required.
With regard to SAI activities, all the States demanded higher deployment of SAI coaches, opening of more SAI centres and access of SAI centre to local population.
While appreciating the positive action taken by Government of India with regard to discharge of committed liabilities in respect of sports infrastructure projects sanctioned under the erstwhile Sports Infrastructure Scheme, the States unanimously demanded the restoration/ introduction of Sports Infrastructure Schemes to help States develop urban sports infrastructure, to provide the urban youth with the access to playing facilities and organised competitions.
All the States supported the initiative taken with regard to scheme of introduction to promoted sports and games among disabled. On the Youth side, all the States were unanimous in their demand for early expansion of NYKS to the remaining 122 districts. The States expressed their willingness to make available officers on deputation to run these centres, if required. Most states also express the need of greater number of youth hostels. The States gave positive feedback on the concept note circulated with regard to formation of National Youth Corps and also assured to submit their inputs for taking the proposal forward.