Speech made by the Hon’ble Union Minister for Urban Development at the Inauguration of 35th National Games in Kerala on 31st January, 2015

Speech made by the Hon’ble Union Minister for Urban Development at the Inauguration of 35th National Games in Kerala on 31st January, 2015 

I am happy to be here in Kerala, God’s own country, which is known for many achievements. 

I am informed that Kerala State is hosting the National Games after a gap of 27 years as it had hosted National Games in 1987. However, this time it is spread over 7 districts. I am glad that the Government of Kerala has taken a very judicious decision to construct 365 pre-fab houses for athletes and officials, instead of constructing mega infrastructure for Games Village. I am also happy that Kerala Government has created a state-of-the-art infrastructure for hosting the 35th National Games and also beautify the different venues where the various sports disciplines will be played. 

I know well that Kerala is for its supremacy in sports and has given many legendary sportsperson like Olympian athlete T.C. Yohannan, Late Suresh Babu, the sprint queen P.T. Usha, Shiny Wilson and M.D. Valsamma, K.M. Beenamol, Anju Bobby George, Sinimol Paulose, Angel Mary Joseph, Mercy Kuttan, K. Saramma, K.C. Rosakutty and Padmini Selvan, who are the recipient of Padmashree and Arjuna Awards. Kerala’s indigenous games and marital art has given many modern sports disciplines. 

I am told that there are 33 sports disciplines in these Natinoal Games and a total 11,641 participants including 7744 athletes competing for 365 Gold Medals and equal number of Silver Medal and 477 Bronze Medals. I am sure that this 15 days events will give the sportspersons not only an opportunity to prove their excellence but also provide a international level infrastructure to compete and nurture themselves through sportsman spirit. 

I would like to appeal to the sports fraternity to come forward and join the Hon’ble Prime Minister’s “Swachh Bharat Mission” and contribute towards cleanliness of your own sports facilities. 

Healthy people make a healthy nation. If everybody is active and healthy, they can lead a happy life besides being more productive economically. 

The importance of health in our country is acknowledged over the ages through the saying ‘Aarogyame Maha Bhagyam’ which means ‘Health is Wealth’. 

That being the case, things are different today. Our country is fast emerging as the ‘diabetic capital’ of the world. It is because of modern life styles, food habits and declining physical activity. This is a serious socio-economic challenge for our country. 

We have great sporting traditions. 

While the present day archers are struggling to hit fixed targets, ages ago, Arjuna hit the ‘rotating Fish that is Matsya +Yantra’ to defeat his fellow contenders and win over Draupadi. 

Wrestling (Malla Yuddham) is another ancient sport in our country. There are several other sport forms in different parts of the country that test the physical as well as mental faculties. 

But with changing times, we have come to lag behind in sports in the international arena. There is some thing seriously wrong with our priorities and approaches. 

In no time, China has emerged as a leading sporting nation even topping medal tables in international arena. They have a different system to promote sports in a focused manner but certainly there is no justification for us to lag so much behind. 

It is high time we promote sports in a systemic and serious manner not just for winning medals in international competitions but to ensure better health of our youth. We shall not forget that our country has the largest number of youth in the world. If they are not healthy, alert and active, it will have serious implications. 

The best way of promoting the culture of sports among the youth is to catch them young and inculcate among them the love for sports. 

It needs to be done through effective awareness campaign about the advantage of sports and physical activity and also through necessary incentives. 

Our educational policy has come to be faulty with more emphasis on learning by rote(memorizing) and marks and ranks. There is no effort for all round development of personality of our millions of students, of which, sports shall be an important and integral component. 

In the US and other countries, good sportsmen are encouraged through attractive fellowships and admissions in prestigious institutions. There is competition for such students. 

But in our country, we only go by marks, grades and ranks. Then where is the incentive for dedicating time for sports? 

In our early days, there used to be regular hours and periods for sports, drill etc. It is a rarity now. Most of the schools run in concrete buildings without play grounds of any kind. 

School and college curriculum should be recast with at least 10% weightage for sports, quotas in admission for students who does well in different sports, reservation in jobs etc. 

I am sorry to note that several of our medal winners end up as ticket collectors in trains and clerks. This is no way to promote sports. 

Our Sports Promotion Policy should be such that promising and potential sports persons in different sports should be identified at relatively young age and should be given education in special schools and colleges and they should be fully taken care of till they retire from sports and take up regular employment. 

This kind of an enabling environment will promote interest in sports. This will help our country of over 120 crore people do well at international level besides promoting the culture of sports among our youth. 

There should be special effort to promote rural sports through district and state level meets regularly with attractive incentives. 

At a different level, ‘sport power’ of a country adds to its stature in the global scheme of things as had happened in the case of China. 

We have come to be a one game nation given our fancy for cricket. Even in that, we are not consistent. 

Things have now begun to change. The football, badminton and Kabaddi leagues started recently have come to be popular. We should do the same for other sports like archery, wrestling etc. 

Kerala has been in the forefront of promoting sports with several sportsmen from the state bringing honours for the country. 

I am glad to be associated with the inauguration of this National Games in Kerala. 

I wish all the participants success. 

The spirit of participation is as important as winning medals. 

I am sure these Games will be a big success and we will be able to spot new talent. 

I compliment the Union Ministry of Youth and Sports and the Kerala Government for their efforts. 

I convey my best wishes to the Government of Kerala for holding the National Games as scheduled from 31st January to 14th February, 2015 as it has to be conducted in every two years but after the National Games at Guwahati in 2007, the next National Games was conducted in Ranchi in 2011 and now this 35th National Games is being organized in 2015. 

In congratulate all the participants best of their performance. I also convey my best wishes to officials and organizers who are putting in their best efforts to conduct the National Games in Kerala in the most befitting manner matching the international standard. 

Thank you, 


Dr Mahesh Sharma lays foundation stone of campus buildings of National Museum Institute and Indian Culinary Institute 

Institutes will help generate employment, promote Indian culture and culinary art : Dr Mahesh Sharma 

The Minister of State for Tourism (Independent Charge), Culture (Independent Charge) and Civil Aviation, Dr Mahesh Sharma today laid the foundation stones of campus buildings of National Museum Institute of History of Art, Conservation and Museology (NMI) and Indian Culinary Institute (ICI) in Noida today. While NMI belongs to the Ministry of Culture, ICI is an Institute of the Ministry of Tourism. 

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Mahesh Sharma said that both these projects were languishing for more than a decade but the hard work of both the Ministries has made it possible to start the process of construction within a short time. He said that these Institutes will help train the youth to find new avenues of employment within the country as well as abroad. They will also go a long way in promoting the culture and culinary art of India, he added. The Minister explained that with the tourism sector expected to witness exponential growth, this sector would require matching trained manpower to manage the infrastructure and services, which these two institutes seek to do. 

The Minister disclosed that it will be possible to start the first session of ICI by 2017 and the Institute will also have collaboration with its foreign counterparts. The Culture Secretary, Mr Ravindra Singh said that the NMI is celebrating its silver jubilee and there is no other institute in the country apart from NMI which is training youth in the area of conserving art and cultural heritage. A permanent campus with world class facilities will help train the youth to set up world class museums along the lines of British Museum or Musée du Louvre which will further promote tourism in the country. 

The Tourism Secretary said that setting up of both the Institutes simultaneously and in close proximity to each other will be highly beneficial since tourism is incomplete without culture. Indian cuisine is highly appreciated all over the world and ICI will try to train youth who will match upto international standards and have global demand, he said. 

The ICI will offer programs in kitchen management, molecular gastronomy, plate presentation, food styling and displays, anthropology, etc. Besides documentation and research of regional and global cuisines, the institute would comprise a patent and legal cell and a museum of traditional foods. 

While the project cost of NMI is Rs 90 cr, that of ICI is Rs 70 cr. The Institutes are expected to be completed within two years. 


Tribal Afairs Ministers Felicitates Tribal Guests and the Tableaux Artistes & Supporting Staff, who had Participated in this Year’s Republic Day Parade 

Says Tribal Community is the Base of India and without Strengthening it no Developmental Infrastructure Could be Firm 

Shri Jual Oram Union Minister of Tribal Affairs today said that tribal community is the base of India and without strengthening it no developmental infrastructure could be firm . Shri Jual Oram said this while hosting a reception here in New Delhi in the honour of Tribal Guests and the Tableaux Artistes & supporting staff, who had participated in this Year’s Republic Day Parade. Members of Parliament belonging to Scheduled Tribes were also invited to the Reception. Welcoming them the minister said Government of India is committed to make tribals a partner in the developmental process of nation by keeping focus on their interests. They also presented gifts on behalf of Ministry of Tribal Affairs to Tableaux Artistes. 

Welcoming the Tribal Guests and the artists Shri Jual Oram said the tradition of inviting tribals to attend Republic Day Parade has been continuing since the first Republic Day in 1952.He said the purpose to invite Tribal Guests is to provide them an opportunity of visiting the National Capital and interact with the diverse and rich cultural tradition of this country so that they could feel proud of it . This includes the meeting of tribal representatives with the President, Vice-Presidemt, Prime Minister and the Defence Minister, Dilli Darshan and a visit to the Museum and Library of Parliament. 

Giving an account of the Ministry’s activities Shri Oram said education is the main theme of Tribal Development hence Union Gonvernment is implementing special programmes for the girls education in particularly those areas where girls literacy rate is below par. He also said that the recently launched “Vanbandhu Kalyan Yojana”, a scheme for the integrated development of tribal community will prove to be a mile stone. 

Shri Oram reiterated that presenty government is fully concerned for the trinal development along with the conservation of their cultural heritage. However, the role of state governments and their cooperation is equally importamt in this regard, the Minister added. 

On this occasion the Minister of State Shri Manusukhbhai Dhanji Bhai Vasava ans senior officers of the ministry were was also present. 

It is important to note that for the Republic day parade 2015, the 60 special Tribal Guests from 25 States and Union Territories were invited and this provided a good opportunity to each one of them to know more about the other cultural traditions of the country. In response the tribal representatives appreciated the efforts and vision of Shri Oram and his ministry. 


States show the way forward on building smart cities 

Impart clarity on selection criteria, financing and reforms to live up to the task 

States suggest two stage selection of cities, fixed tenures for Mayors and municipal cadres 

e-governance, online service delivery, hike in FAR, user fee based concessions suggested 

Two day stakeholders consultations held on the directive of Prime Minister concluded today 

The smart cities building initiative crossed a major milestone today with the states and other stakeholders coming out with the criteria for selection and ranking of cities and broadly agreeing on innovative financing models and urban governance reforms reforms to be implemented for building 100 smart cities. The way forward emerged after intense discussions at the two day ‘Consultation Workshop of States and Stakeholders on Smart Cities’ that concluded today. The important stakeholder consultations were organized by the Ministry of Urban Development on the direction of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi to take the states on board before proceeding further with a the launch of the Smart Cities initiative. 

The final recommendations of states and other stakeholders were today presented at the concluding Plenary Session chaired by the Minister of State for Urban Development and Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation Shri Babul Supriyo. Principal Secretaries and Municipal Commissioners from about 25 states, industry representatives and urban experts participated in the deliberations before coming out with the way forward. 

Regarding selection of cities for development as smart cities, the States and other stakeholders have suggested the Availability of a Vision and City Development Strategy, Progress under Swachh Bharat Mission, Timely Payment of Salaries to Municipal Staff, Information and Grievance Redressal Mechanism and e-News Letter as basic eligibility conditions for participation in the ‘Smart City Challenge’ competition. 

For further ranking of cities for final selection, the States have suggested the parameters and respective weightages that include: Self-financing ability(25% weightage), Institutional Systems and Capacities(25%), Existing Service Levels and committed plan of action for 3 years (25%), Past track record in implementing reforms(15%) and Quality of Vision Document(10%).

On the reforms front, the states have suggested two sets of reforms separately for small and metropolitan cities, land monetization, increased FAR norms with transparent policies, quick progress towards e-governance and online service delivery, Integrated GIS based Master Plans including for sanitation, mobility, land use, digital connectivity, disaster risk management and climate change, policy reforms, fixed tenures for Mayors and municipal officials, improving revenues through 100% collection of taxes and user charges, minimum educational qualifications for corporators and their capacity building, Economic Master Planning for cities before physical Master Plans, creation of municipal cadre, credit rating etc.

With regard to financing, the states have suggested that in addition to PPP model, they should be given the option of EPC(Engineering Procurement Contract), user fee based concessions to promote private sector participation, imposing impact fee on organisations that benefit from improved infrastructure, making cluster based projects to improve viability of projects for private funding, government support for making projects viable for private investors, unbundling of services to make projects investment worthy, creation of a low cost pooled fund with the support of Asian Development Bank, World Bank, Pension Funds, Sovereign Funds etc, Credit Rating of cities, policy changes to make urban projects viable such as support to sale of compost prepared from solid waste as given to chemical fertilizers, corporatization of services etc. 

Minister of States Shri Babul Supriyo has urged the state governments to devolve necessary functions, funds and functionaries to the urban local bodies so as to enable them to take up the challenges under smart cities initiative. 

Shri Shankar Aggarwal, Secretary(UD) and senior officials of the Ministry of Urban Development participated in the two day consultations inaugurated by Shri M.Venkaiah Naidu yesterday(January 30, 2015). 

Speech made by the Hon’ble Union Minister for Urban Development at the Inauguration of 35th National Games in Kerala on 31st January, 2015 Speech made by the Hon’ble Union Minister for Urban Development at the Inauguration of 35th National Games in Kerala on 31st January, 2015 Reviewed by Ajit Kumar on 11:14 AM Rating: 5

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