Kiren Rijiju, Minister of State for Youth and Sports hailed fitness targets and Olympic goals as the logical conclusion to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 'Fit India' initiative,
Speaking at ‘Fitness: $10 Billion Opportunity’, Rijiju underlined the need to fuel a national sporting culture with the aim to make India a sporting powerhouse. The event also saw the inauguration of the first India Sports Summit 2019 in New Delhi on Friday.
Rijiju also announced that a 'Fit India' mission office would be set up, with the help of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), to promote the aforementioned goals.
One of the main talking points at the summit was the export of indigenous Indian sport. Rijiju has spoken about striving to get Kabaddi a place in the Olympics in 2024.
READ: Will push hard for Kabaddi’s inclusion in 2024 Olympics: Rijiju
"The rising ecosystem of sports and sporting events in the country is seen in IPL and the ‘Pro-Kabaddi’ leagues as great examples of mass participation, and catalysts for change towards inculcation of sports for our youth at an early age," the Minister noted.
Discussing the job opportunities and economics of the initiative, Radhey Shyam Julania, Secretary, Department of Sports added that the project is expected to see investments of $147 billion by 2024, with the potential to create over a million jobs in the sector as well.
Sanjay Gupta, Chairman of the CII Sports Committee called for a PPP strategy (Public Private Partnership) to help the project. This would include measures like turning school grounds into public sports facilities and discussing possible tax exemptions and GST initiatives for sporting events.
The Summit saw the likes of Narinder Batra, President of the Indian Olympic Association, Parth Jindal, Managing Director of JSW Sports and former Indian cricketer Virender Sehwag among others in attendance.
Ace shooter Heena Sidhu, and Khelo India athletes Esow Alben (cycling) and Esha Singh (Shooting) were felicitated for their achievements.
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