Imphal: Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Anurag Singh Thakur stressed the need for the centre and states to come together for the promotion of games and sports in the country, by sharing ideas and strategies on developing the sector.
Anurag Singh Thakur was addressing the gathering at the inaugural session of the Chintan Shivir of Ministers of Youth Affairs and Sports (YAS) States/UTs organised at the City Convention Centre, Imphal. The Chintan Shivir will be held for 2 days, i.e., on April 24 and 25, 2023.
During his speech, the Union Youth Affairs and Sports Minister expressed thankfulness to Chief Minister N. Biren Singh for the warm welcome and beautiful arrangements made for the Chintan Shivir.
Stating that this year’s conference is the third Chintan Shivir of YAS Ministers, he said that youths are the largest stakeholder in the country and have a very important role in nation building. He further stressed the necessity of organising such conferences in every state to develop the sports sector at the grass-roots level.
Anurag Singh Thakur expressed that Manipur had contributed a lot in the field of sports, despite its small population compared to other larger states. Acknowledging the contribution, Prime Minister Narendra Modi sanctioned the development of the first national sports university in the state, and an approximate amount of Rs. 900 crore will be spent on developing the university, he added.
He also spoke on the popularity of indigenous games in Manipur, adding that the central government had also adopted many indigenous games in the Khelo India Programme. He further mentioned the importance of promoting and pushing our traditional games on an international level.
The Union Minister spoke on the achievements of sportspersons in the state, mentioning the names of sports personalities who had brought laurels for the country in national and international sporting events. He also mentioned the contributions of different states in different disciplines of sports, adding that women players had brought much achievement for the country.
Concluding his speech, Anurag Thakur suggested the participating sports ministers of different states and union territories share their experience and showcase what initiatives they had taken to develop sports infrastructure in their respective states. He also asked them to learn from one another’s experiences and stressed the need to work together to make India a sports superpower.
Speaking on the occasion, Chief Minister, Manipur N. Biren Singh extended a warm welcome to all the participants of the National Conference of Ministers of Youth Affairs and Sports of States and Union Territories, adding that the state was honoured to host such an event. He observed that holding such a conference in Imphal also recognises and highlights the significant contributions made by Manipuri sportspersons and youth towards nation building.
The Chief Minister continued that the state has a proud and vibrant sporting history and culture, adding that sportspersons from Manipur have brought laurels to India, in various disciplines of sports and produced numerous medalists, including 19 Olympians, despite its small population.
Biren was confident that the deliberations in the National Conference would help shape a framework for state governments and stakeholders to chart a trajectory for the country towards the growth and development of youth and sports.
Under pioneering initiatives like Khelo India, the government continues to create the ideal environment for sports to thrive in India. As we mark 5 years of Khelo India, the scheme has proved to be a catalyst in turning India into a sporting nation, giving a platform to grassroot athletes and building sports infrastructure across the country, he added.
The Chief Minister expressed gratitude that the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Government of India, approved the opening of 32 Khelo India Centres across 16 districts of the state. The Khelo India State Centre of Excellence in the three sports disciplines of archery, hockey, and weightlifting would also start very soon, he said.
He also informed that completion of the National Sports University (NSU) is also underway and added that the university would play an important role in shaping the future of sports in India. He also maintained that the state government is extending every possible support to promote sports culture and sportspersons in the state.
Biren further informed that upgradation of the Khuman-Lampak Sports Complex through the PPP model and as externally aided projects is also underway. Integration of sports science, the use of artificial intelligence, and video analysis in the training of young budding athletes in collaboration with private partners will help in developing sports in the state.
He expressed confidence that under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India would harness our vast sporting talent effectively and emerge as a great sporting nation.
At the beginning of the programme, a short video message of Prime Minister Narendra Modi was telecasted, in which the Prime Minister spoke on the contribution of Northeast states, especially Manipur, in the field of sports and the importance of the conference.
Governor of Punjab and Administrator of Union Territory of Chandigarh Banwarilal Purohit, Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports (YAS), Government of India Nisith Pramanik, YAS Ministers of different States and Union Territories, Secretary (Sports) and Secretary (Youth Affairs), Chief Secretary, Manipur, and senior officials of the Government of India and various state governments also attended the inaugural programme, among others.
The Chintan Shivir will have sessions on various topics, including Yuva Portal, Restructuring the National Youth Festival, Overview of Khelo India and other Schemes of Government of India, Innovation in the Sport Sector, Issues and Challenges in Sports Governance, and Improving Engagement among Stakeholders in the Sports Sector.