Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said his government is encouraging youngsters to pursue a career in sports and the ministry’s budget has been increased almost three times since 2014.
There was no lack of passion and talent for sports among the youth in India but it was the unavailability of resources and support from the government that created hindrances in the past, he said and underlined that these issues are now being addressed.
"In the Amrit Kaal of independence, the country is forging new definitions and creating a new order," the prime minister said, noting that sports is finally being viewed from the athletes’ perspective and not from the government’s.
"Our government is attentive that no youth should be left behind due to shortage of money," the prime minister said, adding the Centre is now supporting the best-performing players by providing them up to Rs 5 lakh annually.
Modi was addressing virtually the ’Jaipur Mahakhel’ sporting event being organised by Lok Sabha MP from Jaipur Rural and former Union minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore. Nothing is impossible for the youngsters of India and every objective becomes easier when the strength of their capabilities is realised and they are given adequate encouragement, the prime minister said.
He said that today’s youth does not want to remain confined to just one field due to their multi-talented and multi-dimensional capabilities. ”We are encouraging youngsters to pursue a career in sports. Initiatives like TOPS (Target Olympic Podium Scheme) are benefiting youngsters in preparing for major sporting events. The Sports Budget of the country has increased almost three times since 2014,” he said.
He said that the Sports Ministry has been allocated a budget of Rs 2,500 crore this year compared to 800-850 crore before 2014. He said that more than Rs 1000 crore have been allocated to the 'Khelo India' campaign alone which will be spent on the development of sports facilities and resources in the country.
Noting that the land of Rajasthan is known for the passion and vigour of its youths, the prime minister said that history is proof that they have turned battlefields into sporting arenas with their valour. "The youths of Rajasthan always are ahead of the rest when it comes to the security of the nation," Modi said as he credited the sporting tradition of Rajasthan for shaping the mental and physical capabilities of the youngsters.
He said out that the amount given in major sports awards has also increased up to three times and sports infrastructure has been ramped up in districts across the country. He emphasised the need to maintain fitness not just in the sports field but also in daily life and quipped, "If you remain fit, only then you will be superhit”.
Modi also pointed out that a large number of people are getting employment through MSMEs that are making sports goods. "Sports is not just a genre, but an industry," he said. He highlighted the efforts made by the country during the Tokyo Olympics and Commonwealth Games and said that the results are for everyone to see.
"When efforts are made wholeheartedly, results are assured," he said. "The next gold and silver medalists for the country will emerge from among you. If you are determined, you will increase the glory of the tricolour even in the Olympics. Wherever you go, you will bring laurels to the country," PM Modi said.
The event, which focused on Kabaddi this year, started on National Youth Day on January 12. It has witnessed the participation of more than 6,400 youths and sportspersons from more than 450 gram panchayats, municipalities and wards of all eight legislative assembly regions of Jaipur Rural constituency.