The Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Youth Affairs and Sports, Shri Ajay Maken delivering the keynote address at the “Workshop on Youth and Sports Development in North-Eastern Region”, organized by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports in collaboration with FICCI, in New Delhi on February 04, 2011.

The Union Minister of State (I/C) for Youth Affairs & Sports Shri Ajay Maken reiterated at a workshop held last week, that the North East Region (NER) is the Power House of Sports in the country. Outlining his Ministry’s vision and objective with respect to the North Eastern States of the country, Mr. Maken expressed great confidence in the sportsmen and women of the NER.

Delivering the keynote address at the workshop on “Youth and sports development in the North Eastern Region”, Ajay Maken underlined that skill development among youth aimed at facilitating employment; evolving Sports as a source of employment & prestige and preservation as well propagation of the rich cultural heritage of the region is the primary aim and functional area of his Ministry in the North Eastern States.

The workshop was organised in New Delhi, after Mr. Maken’ s announcement to this effect recently, and was attended by Ministers of Youth affairs and MPs from all the Northeastern states. The workshop was co-organized by FICCI and also had participants from the National Skill Development Council and BASICS.

There are a total of 59 District Youth Coordinators (DYC), 1027 National Youth Corps Volunteers (NYC) and 10,475 active Youth Clubs in the region. The aim of the workshop was to identify skill development curricula for development and implementation. Once developed, the DYCs and NYCs are to be trained in various skill sets by experts. These trained youth are to further train youth in different skills right up to the level of Panchayats.

Speaking on the contribution of the NER to Sports in India, Mr. Maken said that the Sports Training Center (STC) at Imphal alone has given the country 6 and 5 Gold Medals at the recently held Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games respectively. Such natural ability and aptitude towards Sports needed encouragement and support, and the Government will do every thing to augment the efforts of the youth in the region, he added.

Shri Maken further declared that his Ministry has decided to identify and convert 18 of its 79 STCs and Special Area Games Centres (SAGs) into Model Centres, two of which will be identified in the North East. The Ministry had also decided to enroll and develop 1.7 lakh NSS volunteers in the region, a lakh more than the previous figure.

The average population of youth between the age of 15-35 years in the North East is to the tune of 43% and Mr. Maken also seems to understand fully well the need to channelize this population into the national mainstream through positive intervention, aiding gainful and meaningful employment.

Consequently, the focus of the Ministry is going to increasingly hover around youth in the NER. 2,500 villages in the North Eastern states have been given sports facilities at a cost of Rs. 40 Cr under the Panchayat Yuva Krida Aur Khel Abhiyaan (PYKKA) during the last 3 years and this will only be strengthened and extended under Mr. Maken’s leadership.

The next similar Ministerial workshop of states having tribal areas is scheduled to be held in March. The Minister also informed that the next North East Youth Festival will be held in Shillong in Feb-March this year.

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