MoS (INDEPENDENT CHARGE) FOR YOUTH AFFAIRS AND SPORTS
FROM OFFERING TO MEDIATE between warring tennis legends Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes to a Twitter spat with Dangal actor Zaira Wasim, Vijay Goel has been in the news since he took charge. But beyond headlines, he is a hands on minister. “There is no institution or department that I have not visited, whether it is the SAI centres or Gopichand Academy,” he says. Appalled by the state of some SAI centres, he has sought an assessment report of the facilities as well as the coaches employed there. He also claims to be the first sports minister to have held meetings with all the Dronacharya and Arjuna awardees and Olympic medallists to seek inputs. “Yes, the ministry is making the right noises. But there has been a lot of backlog because of poor implementation, so the crucial part will be how this noise is converted into action,” says Hakimuddin Habibulla, co-founder of GoSports India, a sports management company. For better implementation, Goel plans to bring Sports under the concurrent list. There may also soon be a comprehensive national sports development code, to ensure that sports federations follow certain basic norms.
A task force has been set up to prepare an action plan for effective participation of players in the next three Olympics. The government has launched “Khelo India” for the development of a sporting culture at the grassroots level. Goel has also set up a high-level committee to address the grievances and complaints of women sportspersons. And after setting up the Manipur Sports University, government is exploring the possibility of a similar university in Gwalior.