Union Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore has urged investors to pump in money for the development of sports in the country.Also Read - Leander Paes Reflects on Evolution of Sports in India, Says It's Not Just About Winning Medals
The sports minister announced that the government is looking to launch a project that will identify the potential and hone the skills of 8-10 years of age in the country and provide them scholarships. Also Read - Olympians Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore Could Have Been Successful IPL Players
“At any given time there are 10 crore students in schools. We will partner with school boards, state governments and even the armed forces. They will identify and map the physical fitness of 8-10-year-olds based on a simple test,” Rathore said at the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) Global Sports Summit ‘Scorecard’. Also Read - Row Over Facebook: BJP MPs Write to LS Speaker, Seek Tharoor's Removal From Parliamentary Panel
After the first test has been carried out the number of students will be narrowed to 5000 children followed by 1000 students on which super advance tests will be conducted.
“The right physical talent for the right sport will be identified and Rs 5 lakh scholarship will be given to them for eight years so that by the time the child is 16 years he is ready to be a champion. This is the time to invest in sports,” he said.
The minister also emphasised that no athlete will have to hesitate before asking for funds as “there is no dearth of money”.
“From 1990 till date, all Olympic medallist and potential medallist have been funded by the National Sports Development Fund (NSDF). It’s a fund that was largely supported by the PSUs, now we are opening it to the entire country,” Rathore said.
The minister said that government is also planning a manufacturers’ summit this year, where international companies along with their Indian counterparts will come together and tell the government what policy modifications are required to start manufacturing sports equipment in India.
“By 2019, the sports industry will reach USD 75 billion, it is not only good for individuals but also for the corporates. This is the time to be a part of the Indian sports story,” he concluded.