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Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju on Tuesday urged the states to identify their best sporting infrastructure for the Khelo India State Centre of Excellence (KISCE).
While chairing the first General Council meeting of the Khelo India Scheme, Rijiju addressed the officials of the state sports departments and other central ministries and said that the Centre has already "identified eight states where KISCE will be set up" and "received proposals from 13 states, which are being finalised."
"The KISCE is a great opportunity for the states to have a state-of-the-art infrastructure in training senior athletes from all over the country in select sporting disciplines and excelling in them," said Rijiju.
"The Centre is ready to fund and support the states in this, and therefore, I urge every state to urgently identify the infrastructure that they would like to earmark for KISCE," he added.
Rijiju also urged the states to organise state-level Khelo India Games annually with an effort to identify a larger number of grassroots-level talents.
"The annual competitions being organised at the national level under the Khelo India Scheme, like the Khelo India Youth Games and University Games, have helped to identify sporting talent from all the states. However, that is not enough. Every state can organise annual Khelo India Games to identify grassroots-level talent and give a larger platform to the sporting talents from their respective states," he said.
The states which are already conducting annual sporting competitions can align with the Khelo India Scheme and the Centre will support them in conducting these events.
He said that five zonal talent scouting committees are being planned for east, west, north, south and northeast India and asked for active participation of the states in assisting these committees in identifying grassroots-level talent in 24 sporting disciplines.
"The identified talents can then be trained at the state government facilities or at the SAI centers. We need inputs from the state governments in identifying talent," he said.