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National Youth Policy, 2014 (NYP) and Rajiv Gandhi Khel Abhiyan (RGKA), a Centrally Sponsored Plan Scheme were launched at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi on 21 Feb 2014. The Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Youth Affairs & Sports, Shri Jitendra Singh, Shri Rahul Gandhi, MP, Sports Personalities Mary Kom, Vijender Singh, P. Gopichand, Ashwini Nachappa, Ronjan Sodhi, Karnam Malleswari, Ashish Kumar and several other dignitaries were present on the occasion. The two programmes were also simultaneously launched at district headquarters and in universities throughout the country.

Speaking on the occasion the Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Shri Jitendra Singh said, the youth are the target audience of both NYP and RGKA and will play the most important role in successful implementation of these programs. He said, youth must engage with their elected representatives and work with the government to ensure that the benefits of these two programs are reaching them. The Minister said, the youth of India are the country’s biggest strength and will play a key role in developing a strong and resurgent India that shall be amongst the apex nations of the world.

At the main function in New Delhi, the dignitaries inaugurated two model Halls for Indoor Sports which would be replicated throughout the country under Rajiv Gandhi Khel Abhiyan (RGKA) and unveiled the National Youth Policy. A walkathon of around 2500 children for 3 Kms. and walkathons of 100 elderly persons and 50 disabled persons for 1 Kilometer each were flagged off by the dignitaries. The function ended with an informal sit in discussion.

National Youth Policy, 2014 (NYP-2014) has been launched with the Vision to empower youth of the country to achieve their full potential, and through them, enable India to find its rightful place in the community of nations. NYP-2014 seeks to achieve this Vision by (i) developing the Youth into a productive work force, by providing them the right education and skills and promoting entrepreneurship, (ii) developing a strong and healthy generation through effective healthcare and promotion of a healthy lifestyle and sports, (iii) promoting social values and spirit of community service among the youth, (iv) effectively engaging with the youth and facilitating their participation in governance process and through (v) inclusive policies to take care of disadvantaged sections of the youth and the youth with special needs.

The introduction of NYP-2014 is extremely significant considering the fact that India is one of the youngest nations in the world and is expected to have a very favourable demographic profile in near future. The challenge before the nation is to develop and empower its huge youth population as productive work force. In this context, NYP-2014 seeks to suggest a framework for appropriate policy interventions by Government and non-Government stakeholders. NYP-2014 shall cater to the needs of all the youth in the age-group of 15-29 years, which constitutes 27.5% of population.

RGKA will be a game-changer in terms of creation of sports infrastructure at the grass-roots level. It will involve an estimated outlay of about Rs. 9000 crores spread over the remaining 3 years of the 12th Five Year Plan and the 13th Five Year Plan. The Key objectives of the Scheme are promotion of sports as a way of life among the youth, increased access to sports facilities throughout the country, conduct of sports competitions across the country to identify sports talent and achieving excellence in sports.

Under the Scheme, Integrated Sports Complexes will be constructed in every rural block panchayat of the country. Each Sports complex will cost Rs. 1.75 crore and have 11 outdoor and 5 indoor games with flexibility to choose 3 local games within the limit of 16 games. The Outdoor disciplines are Athletics, Archery, Badminton, Basketball, Football, Handball, Hockey, Kabaddi, Kho-Kho, Tennis and Volley ball. The Indoor disciplines are Boxing, Wrestling, Table tennis, Weightlifting and also provision of a Multi-gym. Three Sports trainers, preferably one female, will be available at each integrated Sports Complex. Under the Scheme, assistance will be provided for Sports equipment and a Youth Resource Centre. Provision for self defence training, especially for women has also been made. Funds will be provided every year to conduct competition to identify talent. In addition, funds will also be provided for the conduct of special category games namely Women competition, Northeast area games, and Special area games.

The Scheme is a unique initiative to converge central government schemes. Funds from the Schemes of five Central Government Departments will be pooled to support the sports infrastructure under the program. The development of outdoor playfield at the Block Level will be done by the Ministry of Rural Development under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) funds. The development of indoor sports hall at the Block Level will be done by the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region from out of the Non Lapsable Central Pool of Resources (NLCPR) – Central funds or by the Planning Commission from out of Additional Central Assistance (ACA) scheme for the Left Wing Extremism (LWE)- affected areas or by the Ministry of Panchayati Raj from out of the Backward Regions Grant Fund (BRGF) or by the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports from out of RGKA funds as per the coverage of concerned districts under specific schemes. The Rajiv Gandhi Khel Abhiyan involves capital expenditure of over Rupees Nine Thousand Crore.

Source: PIB