After the success of the first phase of the Khelo India Games, sports minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore has revealed that in the next three or four months, the government was planning on rolling out a second phase for kids in the age group of eight to 12 years.
“After Khelo India Games, we are going to do something even more interesting. In the next three or four months, we’re going to start a phase for kids in the age bracket of eight to 12 years. We’ll partner with CBSE schools and Kendriya Vidyalayas for this. The selection of kids will be a gruelling phase and we will go to the extent of testing them as well. We will choose the best of the best and will sponsor them. We will try to give 500 upcoming athletes Rs 5 lakh each for the next eight years,” Rathore said at News18's Rising India Summit in New Delhi on Saturday.
“One of the biggest problem in our country is that upcoming athletes with potential don't get sponsors. Sponsors always want to back established stars who will ensure good return on investment. But we wanted to give these kids a platform, so that every kid aspires to become a hero on the national stage through Khelo India Games. When I was watching Khelo India on TV, it didn't feel like this was an event where kids below 17 years of age were competing. It seemed like an international event was happening.
“Who used to watch the national championships for schools earlier? And when such events are not watched, you won't get heroes at such events,” added Rathore, who won a silver medal in the double trap event in the 2004 Athens Olympics.
Rathore also fielded thorny questions about politics. On being asked about the TDP pulling out of the NDA alliance, he said, "The parties which backed out of the NDA had regional aspirations. They did not have a pan-India approach. However, we do need political parties to run the nation. When smaller parties realise that we are winning the 2019 elections, they will all get on the bandwagon. We do not need to worry about Monday's no-confidence motion."
On the government's problems with their allies like the Shiv Sena and TDP, he said, "When everything is seen through the lens of politics, it looks different. One of the biggest weaknesses of our country is the caste system and the fact that we gain political mileage out of caste system. All of these allies that you mentioned are looking at progress through the angle of politics."
"Everyone know that of all the governments there have been in the country, ours is the most transparent, truthful and hard-working. Everyone knows that the direction this government has taken is truthful. There are a few difficulties on this path and change will take time.
On opponents' criticism of BJP, he said: “Kuch toh log kahenge. What do these critics want? That we go on just like the previous Congress government did? Rajneeti badal gayi hai (politics have changed). It will never go back to what it was. There is pressure on each minister to perform.”
Rathore was also asked about the unemployment figures of the country. He said: "There's a window of opportunity for our country. A few years ago European nations had that window of opportunity and they used it. We have one of the largest workforces. We have to try and take advantage of the economic slowdown in the world with this workforce. The government is working on multiple schemes for this."
Updated Date: Mar 17, 2018 18:03 PM