Sonowal wants to bring transparency

'All the national sports federations should join hands towards clean administration'

Sonowal wants to bring transparency

Toeing the line of clean governance, Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Sunday stressed that one of his main objectives would be to ensure the national sports federations become more transparent.

Speaking to select media while on a  flying visit to the City where he was the chief guest at the National Vanavasi Archery Competition here, Sonowal touched upon the importance of sports for a better living, the need for corporate funding and accountability on part of administrators.


What are your plans to tap the talent in the youth ?

More than 65 per cent of the Indian population is youth and it’s no secret where the future of the country lies. We have to capitalise on their strength and talent if we want to excel. We have devised plenty of programmes with the youth in mind. It’s not just urban youth but youngsters from even the remote areas of the nation where facilities are limited. We are not just focused on providing them a platform in a discipline of sports they desire but we want them to develop as an individual.

The main objective is to create opportunities for youngsters hailing from villages. In India, the culture of sports is not widely prevalent. We want all youngsters to take up sports. Whether they make a career out of it is different but if they start playing sports from a very young age, their overall persona changes. We need to treat sports as a way of life. And, if we want all youth to play, then we have to create infrastructure at all levels. We need to have enough playgrounds from the panchayat level to top-tier cities. To stay fit, one needs to play some sport.

You’ve being constantly requesting the corporate sector to come forward and support sport. Why?

There are plenty of corporates coming forward to boost sports in the country now. Corporates can adopt Olympic events and that would be great for that sport. The target is to win as many medals as possible at the Olympics and Asian Games. If we can prepare an athlete in the best manner possible, better are the chances of that athlete winning a medal. The corporate sector is very willing now and I’m confident through their partnership we will be able to take Indian sports to the next level.

Would the current government increase cash prizes for medal winners?

When our blind cricket team won the World Cup in Cape Town, it was the first time we gave out cash prizes on par with normally abled athletes. Our intention is very clear -- we want to promote sports in the country. I do agree that the norms are a bit old. However, we would cater to the modern demands but within our limitations.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Clean India’ campaign has become a huge hit. Do you have something in mind that would clean up the Indian sports administration?

We want to bring more transparency and accountability to all the sporting federations. A few days back, I had a meeting with the Indian Olympic Association during which I requested them to become a lot more transparent. People should not have any confusion about their activities. Of course, we have sizeable number of sporting federations and the task is quite a challenge. All the federations should join hands and create a body (that would act like a watchdog).

Could you tell us about Special Area Games?

We will be conducting the Himalayan Sports Festival, mostly at Guwahati. Many of the regions in the country have their unique sports that may not be played elsewhere. We need to acknowledge them and create a platform for them also.

Sporting venues are left to rot in many cities. How do you intend to tackle the problem?

Maintenance of venues is very important. We get a lot of complaints from many that a lot of stadiums in the country are not maintained well. We want them to be utilised well and maintained well. For that, we need to be in continuous correspondence with the State governments.

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