Q. Hon’ble minister sir, you are a minister to whom the youth of India looks up to. You are really popular on the social media where you consistently inspire and motivate the nation to adopt a healthier lifestyle. You are also working on some great initiatives under the Modi government to promote sports and youth empowerment. Please throw some light on your ministry’s strategy to contribute towards Fit India Movement.
A. Our objective is very clear; we have to engage the youth of India. We always say that youth are our assets but until or unless we engage them gainfully and utilise the energy of the youth, we won’t be able to reap the benefit, the… huge huge population, which we have in India into nation-building. So, we are looking forward to create an atmosphere where the youth will play a very critical role in nation-building. We have launched some important programmes like Khelo India, Fit India Movement, this will create an enormous situation in our country where the youth will drive all the important programmes of the government. And Fit India Movement is something, which I take very close to my heart. Honorable Prime Minister Modi ji had launched Fit India Movement and I am driving it. When I drive it, I enjoy it also because youth are becoming very conscious of their health, fitness. So, I think now majority of the youth are turning into fitness as a part of their daily regime. At the same time, Khelo India is the programme to create sports as a way of life, to make sports as a culture and which is very important and in the days to come – our aim to transform India into a global sporting powerhouse will be met with the sporting culture which we have able to create so far.
Q. What is your vision for Hon’ble Prime Minister Modi ji’s call for Vocal for Local and Aatmnirbhar Bharat? Under your able leadership, how the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports would be contributing to it?
A. See ‘Vocal for Local’ is basically to create confidence amongst ourselves. If we identify our own talent, our own potential, then only we will be able to strengthen ourselves. If we don’t identify or we don’t realise our potential, how do we drive ourselves? So, for example, we have indigenous games, we have to identify those indigenous games. I am trying to bring up the local Indian talents, coaches. Of course, right now we are dependent on the foreign coaches for the high-performance directors and for some of the coachings and subsequently, my aim is to have more or less, you know, Indian coaches in our system of training the educating the young athletes. So, these are some of the steps from my ministry where we will be contributing to the Aatmnirbhar Bharat, which Prime Minister had launched; means we have to be self-reliant, we have to depend on our own indigenous local talent. So, whether it is a product, commodities, or human resources, we have to ensure that we identify local talent, local products and on top of that, my ministry has 75 lakhs, youth volunteers, under the Department of Youth Affairs. So, I am utilising these 75 lakhs, youth volunteers, to drive the Aatmnirbhar Bharat launch by the Hon’ble Prime Minister. And our youth are going to the extreme level to all the nook and corner of the country, to galvanize the youth of the nation to reach out to every part of the country, to ensure that we all must become self-reliant and that is the theme of Aatmnirbhar Bharat.
Q. Sir, we, at AsiaOne, really admire you as a leader who leads by example. As I stated earlier, you are one big motivational force for the youth of India and we really appreciate your efforts towards motivating each and every citizen of the nation to adopt any physical activity of their choice and you have been so active at the social media platforms. You yourself post your physical activity videos and you have, Sir, off late, emerged as a really popular youth icon. What’s your message to the budding young entrepreneurs, aspiring sportspersons, and all others who look up to you for inspiration?
A. See, as a public person, we have to be an example to the younger generation. As a minister, as an elected person, we are something, so we have to show everything with our own right approach. So, I am trying to lead a very normal life and show it to the younger generation. For example, my daily routine life – despite my busy schedule, very-very intensive touring programmes and all, I try to show that no matter how busy, how occupied you may be but you can do certain things to make your life better, your life more disciplined and focused. So, there is a regime which you follow every day. So, I try to tell the youth that adopt, don’t forget to maintain your fitness level. So, that is all about, you know, making your health better, your thinking process positive, so that you can become a useful citizen for your country. A youth cannot be a burden to the nation. A youth has to be strength of the nation. So, there are certain things which I have done, for example, reaching out to the youth, interaction with the athletes, all the sportsperson, all the stakeholders. I make myself available to those who want to interact with a minister. So, I cannot be inaccessible to the people. So, I try to show that I lead a very simple, very-very easy life. So that, you know, people will learn something basic from a minister. And at the same time, I would like to tell the youth of country that problems are there, issues are there, challenges are a part of life, but that should not discourage in any manner in your progression in life or in fulfilling your dreams. All the problems and all obstacles are, if tackled in a positive manner, then you will overcome everything. That is how I have come from a very small remote village in Arunachal Pradesh and be in the parliament, I am able to convey my feelings in a bigger platform and at the same time I try to ensure that I remain relevant all the time, to new challenges in the life challenges before the nation. So, these are certain things. My message to the youth is that only think positive. Don’t bring negative thoughts in your life. Because there are positives, both and there are negatives. But if you think only positive then you will do positive things but if you start giving importance to all the negative things then you might end up doing all negative stuff. So, be positive and lead a successful life. When we talk about making India a great, prospering nation, it will only be possible if youth of India think positive and do positive.
Q. What do you feel about this new series by AsiaOne Magazine titled ‘Greatest Brands and Leaders,’ considering the fact that AsiaOne has been consistently promoting Asian brands and leaders throughout the world and our aim is to counter the perception that western brands are superior as compared to their Asian counterparts. And what’s your message for AsiaOne Magazine and Mr. Rajat Shukal?
A. First of all, I would like to compliment Rajat Shukal for coming out with this AsiaOne Magazine which is itself telling AsiaOne. We have to build the brands of our own, the Asian brand, the Indian brand and need to say that 21st century is going to be Asian century. So, the magazine is starting on a very very positive note and I think with this positive mindset and approach the magazine, your all the efforts, will bring a tremendous change in the way we look at things and to influence the youth. So, my best wishes to the entire team!