Need to focus on sports in rural areas: Gill

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New Delhi, Jul 9 (UNI) Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports M S Gill today stressed on the need to promote sports in rural areas, where a majority of the people of India inhabit.

''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 after inaugurating a conference of state ministers of Youth Affairs and sports, being held at the Vigyan Bhawan here.

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

Admitting the lack of adequate infrastructure for promotion of sports in the country, Dr Gill said,''there are at least Rs 50 crore worth of unfinished schemes that have been sanctioned long ago but remain incomplete for lack of funds.'' In this regard, he expressed the Government's commitment to provide funds for setting up the necessary sports infrastructure in the country.

''We will demand that the Planning Commission provide Rs 50 crore to finish the pending schemes for building of sports facilities and infrastructure.'' Further, he said, the Government would also try to meet the shortage of sports coaches and training staff in the country.

The day-long conference is being attended by sports Ministers and secretaries of various states of the country.

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