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New Delhi : Union Youth Affairs & Sports (YAS) Minister Anurag Singh Thakur is set to virtually interact with Sports Ministers of States and Union Territories across India on September 20, 2021, to discuss further promotion of sports in the country.

Following the major success of the Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo, Thakur would know from the States and UTs the ways forward and how they would contribute in the mission to make India a top sporting nation. He will be joined by Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports Nisith Pramanik. The Government of India’s flagship programs, Khelo India and Fit India, will remain an integral part of the interaction.

Sports is a State subject and the overall motive of the interaction would be to urge them to organise sporting events across rural and urban areas for able-bodied and para-athletes as well as play a key role in the identification of talents at grassroots level. The promotion of school level sports and support to the School Games Federation of India (SGFI) will be another key point of discussion. The States and UTs would also be requested to form a pool of cash awards for the athletes where both the Central and the State Governments can accumulate the funds, according to a PIB release.

The Khelo India Games, which was organised for the first time in 2018, has been a major game-changer for grassroots level sports competitions in India. Since then, a host of Khelo India games have been hosted, including the Youth, University, and Winter Games. The Khelo India programme has also encompassed the upgradation of several sports infrastructures across the States and UTs as Khelo India State Centres of Excellence (KISCE) and Khelo India Centres (KICs).

At present, there are 24 KISCEs across 23 States and UTs while 360 KICs have opened across various districts in the country. At September 20, 2021, meeting,Thakur would discuss at length these developments and ask the States to contribute to their full capacity in giving the future champions of India with all the crucial amenities including best of coaching, infrastructure, medical facilities. The early identification of budding talents through sports competitions as well as in educational institutions in States and UTs at block and district levels, remains another key agenda of discussion.

The Fit India movement, launched on National Sports Day 2019 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, also has been a game changer in inculcating the habit of fitness through various campaigns conducted thereon, like the Fit India Freedom Run, the Fit India Mobile App, Fit India Quiz, etc. Thakur would request the State and UT Sports Ministers to participate and promote the above campaigns. He would also urge  States and UTs to send in proposals to open up KISCEs, KICs as well as academies to further the cause of strengthening the sports ecosystem of the nation.