NEW DELHI, July 15: The central government on Wednesday authorised states and union territories (UTs) to “independently” decide about the resumption of sports activities in their region, depending upon the covid-19 situation. However, the government has urged the states and UTs to keep exploring possibilities to start some kind of activities within the next two-three months.
Sports minister Kiren Rijiju, during his two-day video conferencing with ministers and senior officers in charge of Youth Affairs and Sports departments from all states and UTs, said the efforts should be made to bring on-field sports back in a limited manner. Earlier in June, Rijiju had spoken about starting some kind of tournaments without spectators in a phased manner from August.
“The states will have to independently decide when they can start sports activities and training. However, I would urge all states to start some kind of sporting activities after 2 or 3 months, depending on the situation. We can start sporting events in a limited manner and for non-contact sports. There are some states that have opened up their sporting facilities and started some sports training. As the situation improves, we must attempt to bring on-field sport back,” said Rijiju on Wednesday, reviewing the possibility of resumption of sporting activities in the states and UTs.
The minister also spoke about the need to mobilise a large number of volunteers as part of the Youth Ministry’s flagship schemes Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKS) and National Service Scheme (NSS) as well as from Bharat Scouts and Guides to intensify India’s fight against covid-19. “More than 60 lakh volunteers of NYKS and NSS were engaged as frontline covid-19 warriors as they created awareness, made and distributed masks and assisted citizens during the pandemic. It has been jointly decided by the centre and all states that we will massively scale up the number of volunteers in the coming months. We have set a target of mobilising one crore plus volunteers under the Youth Ministry schemes.”
Immediately after the first lockdown, 24.17 lakh NYKS and 18.01 lakh NSS youth volunteers were pressed into service at the field level. Further, the number of volunteers were increased by 19.27 lakhs to ensure wider coverage across the country. More than 60 lakh volunteers have been trained to assist in various activities pertaining to the war against Covid 19.
States and UTs like Delhi, Sikkim, Lakshadweep, Chandigarh, Goa have already resumed sporting activities with non-contact sports like table tennis, badminton, archery, shot put, javelin throw, among others. Nagaland is drawing up plans to start district-level tournaments in football and indigenous games. Jharkhand plans to start sports in September, while Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar and Mizoram are putting a SOP in place to resume sports. (TNN)