Olympics A-Z

Top ten achievements of Kiren Rijiju as Union Sports Minister

Gaurav SinghGaurav Singh

July 11 2021
Kiren Rijiju sports minister
(Courtesy : twitter)

The MP has now been appointed as the Union Cabinet Minister for the Ministry of Law and Justice.

Kiren Rijiju, BJP MP from Arunachal Pradesh, was recently appointed as the Union Cabinet Minister for the Ministry of Law and Justice. Previously, he served as the minister Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Youth Affairs and Sports and Minister of State for Minority Affairs. 

He became the Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports after the BJP government started its second term in 2019. Over the past two years, the lawyer turned politician has worked religiously for the development of sports in the country.

Let’s take a look at the key contributions made by the departing sports minister to the sports ecosystem of India. 

10. Promoting Adventure Tourism 

Under the guidance of Kiren Rijiju, the government started working on a policy to promote adventure sports in the Northeast Indian regions. This will act as a boost for thrill-seekers and adventure sports lovers in those states. On the other hand, it will also boost tourism in the northeast. 

9. Support to Traditional Sports 

While Kiren Rijiju worked for the development of mainstream games, he also worked towards on creating awareness and growth of traditional sports. 

Notably, the ministry has included four indigenous sports in the 2021 Khelo India Games. The tournament will take in Haryana. These four new games are Gatka, Kalaripayattu, Thang-Ta and Mallakhamba.

8. Bringing BCCI under NADA

Rijiju played a big role in bringing BCCI under NADA (Photo Credit: ESPN)

He welcomed the decision of BCCI to come under the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA). Moreover, he termed it as a major step towards clean and transparent governance in sports and considered it to be a big achievement for himself. 

7. Escalation in prize money for National Sports Award winners

The former sports minister recently announced an enhancement in the prize money of four out of seven National Sports Awards. The prize money for Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award increased to ₹25 lakh from the previous amount of ₹7.5 lakh. Arjuna Award’s prize money increased to ₹15 lakh from ₹5 lakh.

The Dronacharya lifetime awardees will now get ₹15 lakh instead of ₹5 lakhs. The prize money of Dronacharya awardees increased to ₹10 lakh from ₹5 lakh. Likewise, Dhyanchand awardees will now get ₹10 lakh instead of ₹5 lakh. 

“The prize money for the Sports Awards was last reviewed in 2008. These amounts should be reviewed once every 10 years at least. If professionals in every field have seen an enhancement in their earnings, why not our sportspersons?” Kiren Rijiju said in an interaction with India TV. 

6. Increase in Sports Budget

Kiren Rijiju played a pivotal role in increasing the sports budget. During his first year as Sports Minister, the government allocated ₹ 2826.92 crores in 2020-21. This was up by 50 crores from the budget of 2019-20. Notably, the government gave a significant hike of ₹291.42 crores to the Khelo India program for the development of sports in the country. 

5. Providing extensive support to athletes during the COVID-19 crisis

Amidst certain uncertainties due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Sports Ministry was upfront to provide support to athletes in order to prepare for the Tokyo Olympics. Predominantly, when athletes faced travel restrictions, Kiren Rijiju made sure that all their travel arrangements were done effectively. He also ensured the vaccination of all Tokyo-bound athletes. 

Also, to urge people to extend support for the Olympic-bound athletes, he launched the ‘Cheer4India’ campaign. Doing so, there are almost 6000 selfie points set up in the country to extend support to the athletes. 

4. Support to para-athletes

Rijiju provided full support to para athletes (Photo Credit- Paralympic)

He believed in providing equal support to para athletes just like the others of the country. The para athletes received extensive cash prizes after their exemplary performance at the 2019 World Badminton and World para-athletics championships. Moreover, Rijiju also made sure to allow quick disbursement of cash prizes.

3. Assisting ex-athletes

With the help of Kiren Rijiju, Indian sporting icons, Anju Bobby George and Gagan Narang received government funds for their respective academies. They were provided with a grant of up to ₹ 5 crores each under the National Sports Development Fund.

Notably, the sports ministry has started the ‘Scheme of Sports Fund for Pension to Meritorious Sportspersons’. This is to provide lifetime pension to athletes after retirement who have emerged victorious at several international competitions. 

2. Fit India Movement 

He further developed the Fit India Movement by launching the Fit India Youth Clubs to promote fitness among citizens. Several volunteers of different organizations will come together to register as Fit India Youth Clubs. 

Kiren Rijiju
Rijiju gave huge emphasis on the Fit India programme (Photo Credit – Twitter)

Further, each member of the club will motivate people from the community to take up fitness activities of 30 to 60 minutes in his or her daily routine. Additionally, the clubs will organize and encourage schools and local bodies to organize one community fitness program every quarter.

With only a few days left for the Tokyo Olympics, the new Sports Minister, Anurag Thakur will have to suit up to fill in the shoes of an extremely dedicated Rijiju. 

1. Development of the Khelo India Programme

The Khelo India program started in 2018 to develop sports at the grassroots level in India. Notably, Khelo India reached new heights under the aegis of Kiren Rijiju. With an initiative to develop the program, he set up Khelo India State Centers of Excellence (KISCE). In the process, he virtually inaugurated eight KISCE in December 2020 – Karnataka, Arunachal Pradesh, Kerala, Manipur, Mizoram, Odisha, Telangana and Nagaland.

In addition, Kiren Rijiju also introduced the Khelo India Winter Games in 2020 to be hosted in Leh and Jammu & Kashmir. Moreover, in the recent Khelo India Games, a new vertical for University Games was also included in the program. 

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