In an initiative to promote sports in Punjab, the State Government on Saturday announced Maharaja Ranjit Singh awards — the highest sports award of the State to 67 players of different disciplines at Punjab Bhawan here.
Parkash Singh Badal would confer these awards on April 29 at Tagore Theatre, Chandigarh. However, Sukhbir Singh Badal, Deputy Chief Minister, who is also the Sports Minister agreed that there has been a delay in conferring the prizes and said that all backlogs in conferring such awards will be cleared by the end of the year.
Sukhbir added that the Government had formulated Maharaja Ranjit Singh Award Policy during the year 2011. All Padama Shree Awardees, Arjuna Awardees and Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Awardees automatically qualify for Maharaja Ranjit Singh Award.
“An amount of around Rs 1.34 crore will go into the award ceremony which shows our dedication towards promoting sports in the State. In the past few years, our Government has spent around Rs 200 crore on upgrading the Sports infrastructure of the State and endeavored to provide latest sports infrastructure to sportspersons, so that they can train and compete with their international counterparts,” said the Deputy Chief Minister.
Punjab Government had been magnanimous in enhancing the quantum of Cash Awards to the sportspersons who win medals in Olympics, Asian, Common Wealth and other National and International Competitions.
He further added that any player of Punjab who wins a Gold medal, whether in an individual event or team event in Olympics, will be awarded Rs 2.25 crore.
The Silver and Bronze medalists would take home Rs 1.01 crore and Rs 51 lakh, respectively. The Gold, Silver and Bronze medalists of Asian Games would gain Rs 26 lakh, Rs 16 lakh and Rs 11 lakh and Commonwealth Games Rs 16 lakh, Rs 11 lakh and Rs 6 lakh, respectively.
Announcing the new initiative of the Government to encourage students to opt for a carrer in sports, Badal said that he has asked the Education department to work out a plan to introduce sports as an elective subject in boards examination, whose grades would be counted in the aggregate marks.
He said that by doing so sports would be a compulsory subject in every school and we would be able to nurture the budding youth into international players.
Announcing the organisation of Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh Punjab Games in priority sports disciplines some time in the third quarter of the year, Sukhbir said that the prize money of Rs 25 lakh per discipline would be given to the first three position holder teams. Emphasising on strengthening the infrastructure, Badal added that his focus is on creating quality players in the State.
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