India is still some way off from resuming sporting events as sports minister Kiren Rijiju on Wednesday asked the states to not press the restart button in a hurry considering the rising COVID-19 case count.
Reviewing the possibility of resumption of sporting activities across the country, Rijiju urged the states to not start anything within the next two-three months.
"The states will have to independently decide when they can start sports activities and training. However, I would urge all states to start some kind of sporting activities after 2 or 3 months, depending on the situation," Rijiju said.
He was speaking after the conclusion of the two-day virtual meeting with sports ministers of all states and union territories to chalk a way forward amid the pandemic.
Rijiju emphasised on resuming non-contact sports as and when the situation improves.
"We can start sporting events in a limited manner and for non-contact sports. There are some states that have opened up their sporting facilities and started some sports training. As the situation improves, we must attempt to bring on-field sport back."
Sporting activities came to a screeching halt after the government was forced to enforce a nationwide lockdown in march to stem the spread of the pandemic.
The meeting also discussed ways to engage more volunteers of the Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKS) and National Service Scheme (NSS) to promote various schemes at the state level.
He said the centre and states will work together and mobilise one crore volunteers to help in India's fight against COVID.
Speaking about the need to enhance the pool of volunteers across the country, Rijiju said, "More than 60 lakh volunteers of NYKS and NSS were engaged as frontline COVID warriors as they created awareness, made and distributed masks and assisted citizens during the pandemic.
"We have set a target of mobilizing one crore plus volunteers under the Youth Ministry schemes. The volunteers will not only continue their fight against COVID 19 but will also help citizens gain benefit from Honourable PM’'s vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat.
"There are various provisions under Atmanirbhar Bharat that will directly help the poorest of the poor with free ration, medical assistance and more."
During the conference, Rijiju also spoke of the relevance of the Fit India Movement during these trying times.
"I urge all states to continue with Fit India activities online during COVID and include common people in fitness-related activities.
"Enrolling schools as Fit India schools can also help to make fitness a way of life for students. There are a lot of parameters for a school to qualify as a Fit India school, but primary among them is the inclusion of mandatory fitness activities in the daily curriculum."
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