Vijay Goel vows to work 24/7 as Sports Minister
Goel also promised to do something new in the department with a fresh vision.
New Delhi: He does not have a roadmap ready with him just yet but newly-appointed Sports Minister Vijay Goel on Wednesday asserted that he will work round the clock with an aim to take sports to every nook and corner of the country.
Goel, who was also Sports Minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee led NDA government, also promised to do something new in the department with a fresh vision.
"It is a matter of pride that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has chosen me for this responsibility. I am confident we would be able to do something new. I am also happy to take charge with the Rio Olympics round the corner. It is our biggest ever contingent with 105 athletes. Hopefully they will do well," said Goel after taking over charge from predecessor Jitendra Singh.
Asked about his plans and vision for the Ministry, Goel said he would first want to take stock of the department.
"I have just taken charge. It is difficult to list out my vision and priorities. Give me some time and I will speak about it. All I can I say is that I will work 24x7 for sports, because sports is very close to my heart. I still play tennis and understand the issues faced in Indian sports and athletes. I also understand by limitations.
"I also want to appeal to youth that they should play sports regularly. With education, sports is equally important. I myself self have been a sportsperson and have played kho kho and basketball. With my past experience in Atal ji's government, I hope I can contribute to doing something new in the department," said Goel.
It was during his tenure that Delhi won the bid to host the 2010 Commonwealth Games. Goel said he would want to see India host another big multi-sporting event.
"Definitely when big competitions like these take place, it serves as encouragement for the youngsters. Infrastructure is also built, now with what we have now (CWG infrastructure) will try to use it as much as we can," said the 62-year-old Delhi resident.
While the Indian Olympic Association expects 15 medals from its biggest ever Olympic contingent in Rio, Sports Authority of India have pegged the figure at 15. Goel said there was no way he could predict the medal count.
"Who can predict the number of medals you tell me? We should just wish them well. And our job is only not win medals, it is also to take sports to every doorstep. Like PM Modi has done for Yoga, same way sports should reach every household in this country," he said.
Goel added that he would want to see an increase in the Sports Ministry budget, something also desired by its advisory body All India Council of Sports.
The allocation for Ministry got a marginal hike of Rs 50.87 crore from last year in the union budget for 2016-17. The total allocation was Rs 1592 crore this year as against Rs 1541.13 crore last year.