Sports minister Rajyavardhan Rathore on Monday stressed on the fact that he wants to see India become a sports equipment manufacturing hub for the world. Addressing a confluence of international and national delegates from various sporting federations, leagues and companies, Rathore emphasised the need to change the mindset of the country and the federation towards sports. "Nothing like sports that breaks all barriers across regions, race or creed. We plan to make India a force to reckon with in the field of sports and need support from private sector," the minister told reporters.
"Currently we are focused on two programmes. One, excellence in sports through our Target Olympic Podium scheme and two, broadbasing of sport through the largest schools games competition, Khelo India, which is a far-reaching scheme and ambitious programme," he added.
The minister proclaimed 2018 as the year of sports in India.
"We intend to change the mindset of people towards sports. For that, the environment around sport needs to be revitalized and reenergized. This includes all aspects of sports namely manufacturing, education, skill training, sports science, sports broadcast, events, managing academies among others," he said.
"To start with we plan to hold a summit of the best sports goods manufacturers of India and the world to deliberate on how and what we need to do to change the policies of the country to make India a manufacturing hub of sports equipment," he added.
Holding up shooting as an example, he said, "As a country, we have been importing the clay targets and ammunition for years. But what stops us to manufacture ammunition here, where we use the required amount for sports training and export the rest to the world."
"We would suggest to the government of India to change the policies to encourage sports goods and equipment manufacturing in our country," he added.
The minister also spoke about setting up a national sports university along with centres of sports sciences for athletes in the country.
"We have funded five colleges to set up sports courses and sports science centres. We are opening as well as open to tie up with schools and colleges for the required infrastructure," he said.
Another important announcement Rathore made was of creating a bank of coaches across sports disciplines in India.
"The lack of expert coaching and efficient training is one of the main reasons for the country not producing world-class talent. To improve the quality of sportspersons and coaching skills, we plan to set up an ambitious programme of creating a bank of coaches with tie-up with international companies," he said.
"This online bank of coaches will help create a curriculum with sports universities which will be for people across the country to reach out for expert training and coaching across all sports."
(With IANS Inputs)