The Minister of State for Youth and Sports, Mr Kiren Rijiju, set fitness targets and Olympic goals as the logical conclusion to PM Modi’s ‘Fit India’ initiative. Speaking at ‘Fitness: $10 Billion Opportunity’, he highlighted the need to fuel a national culture of sports and fitness to make the country a future sporting powerhouse. He was inaugurating the first ‘India Sports Summit 2019’ today in New Delhi, organized by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in association with the Ministry of Youth and Sports and SPORTSCOM, an industry association set up by CII for the sports industry.
The Minister announced that a ‘Fit India’ mission office would be set up in collaboration with CII. This would work on promoting fitness and sports in the country.
The Minister stressed that the ‘Fit India’ movement has to be a people’s movement, pivoting around sporting disciplines and athletes. Mr Rijiju envisions exporting indigenous Indian sport internationally and called for Kabaddi to be featured in the upcoming Olympics.
The Minister stated the need for high standards of governance over policy interventions. 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, he noted.
Shri Radhey Shyam Julania, Secretary, Department of Sports, Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, added that ‘Fit India’ would be crucial to take its share of the pie of the global industry of US $94 billion, projected to reach $147 billion by 2024. He said that India has ample opportunities to reach $10 billion potential, and create 1 million jobs in the sector. He appealed for a movement towards building an ecosystem involving sportspersons, business houses and state federations working in tandem towards this goal.
Referring to global practices and fitness campaigns, he advocated for fitness plans for India to foster a sustainable and healthy society. “We woke up late, but we can wake up”, said the Secretary.
Mr Sanjay Gupta, Chairman, CII Sports Committee and Country Manager, Star and Disney India, said, “A healthy India is a ‘necessary condition’ for a prosperous India of tomorrow.”
The ‘Fit India’ initiative is a simple idea and can be a game-changer. “I believe that it is imperative that kids lead the way in driving a fitness revolution in India and be the agents of change,” he said. “Charity and donations cannot create this revolution. If we want this revolution, it is essential that we build a thriving and meaningful business enterprise around sport and fitness.
He emphasized a ‘PPP’ (Public Private Partnership) strategy to turn, for instance, school-grounds into public sporting facilities, and advocated tax exemptions and GST initiatives for sporting events. This will position India as a leading sports destination and help the industry grow 5–fold by 2024.
Mr Gupta, on behalf of CII, expressed delight in becoming the lead partner of the Ministry for the ‘Fit India Movement’. He exchanged letters with the Secretary in the presence of the Minister.
Mr Jalaj Dani, President, Sportscom, spoke on creating strategic and fruitful alliances within the sports sector, urging stakeholders to collaborate and realize PM Modi’s vision. He reiterated the need to get sports and fitness recognized as an industry of its own.
Eminent panellists addressed the Summit including Mr. Anil Swarup, Former Secretary, School Education and Literacy, Ministry of Human Resource Development; Shri Sandip Pradhan, Director General, Sports Authority of India; Mr. Puneet Dalmia, Managing Director, Dalmia Bharat; Shri Vishal Dev, Secretary, Sports, Government of Odisha; Ms. Michelle Wade, Commissioner, State Government of Victoria, Australia; Mr. Anupam Goswami, CEO, Mashaal Sports; Shri Maneesh Garg, Joint Secretary, Department of School Education and Literacy, Ministry of Human Resource Development; Ms. Jyotsna Sitling, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship; Mr. Viren Rasquinha, CEO, OGQ; Mr Ayaz Memon; Dr Narinder Dhruv Batra, President, Indian Olympic Association on Road to Tokyo and Beyond, and Mr Parth Jindal, Managing Director, JSW Sports. There was also a panel of torch-bearers of Indian sport, including cricketing legend Virender Sehwag.
CII and Sportscom felicitated eminent sports personalities and institutions for their outstanding personal achievements and contributions to the development of sports in the country. Those honoured were ace shooter Heena Sindhu, ‘Khelo India’ athletes Esow Alben (cycling) and Esha Singh (shooting), the JSW Group, AFI (Athletics Federation of India), and the state of Odisha.
October 10, 2019