Concerted efforts for sports infrastructure at panchayat level: Gill

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New Delhi, Jul 9 (UNI) Minister of Youth Affairs and sports, M S Gill today urged States to make concerted efforts to provide basic infrastructure at Panchayat level and assured all possible financial support from the Centre for this purpose.

Speaking at the conference of the State Ministers of Youth Affairs and Sports here, Dr Gill emphasised for promotion of sports at the grassroot level as ''universalisation of sports cannot be achieved without adequate thrust on development of sports at Panchayat level''.

He said Government had already decided to provide one time seed capital to each panchayat and asked the States to send proposals to avail the benefits of the Centrally-sponsored scheme.

The Minister also apprised the participants about the various initiatives taken recently by the Central Government which include enhancing the pension and other incentives for outstanding sports person.

Addressing the day-long conference held at Vigyan Bhawan in the Capital, Dr Gill stressed the need to promote sports in rural areas, where a major chunk of population inhabited.

''In a country like ours we have to take care of the majority which resides in villages. In order to promote sports in the rural areas, the focus needs to shift from Cricket, which is an expensive sport, to inexpensive games which everybody can play like Football, Basketball and Volleyball,''Dr Gill said.

In this context, he pointed out that countries in Africa like Ehiopia and Uganda suffered from lack of resources, yet they managed to beat the rich European countries at athletics.

The conference was attended by Ministers from States and senior officers from various Ministries concerned. The participants deliberated on issues relating to promotion of sports activities and development of youth.

Some of the major isues relating to sports which were deliberated upon include, 'The Panchayat Yuva Krida Aur Khel Abhiyan' (PYKKA), use of sport infrastructure, role of Sports Authority of India and draft schemes for promotion of sports and games in schools, colleges and universities, sports and games for disabled and National Physical Fitness Programme (NPFP).

Major issues relating to Youth Affairs which were deliberated upon include the review of Youth Hostel Scheme, National Service Scheme (NSS), Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKS) and launching of scheme of - National Programme for youth and Adolescent development (NPYAD).

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