‘I am a fighter and will remain so’
By Kumar Vikram | Published: 29th July 2017 10:34 PM |
In an exclusive interview with Kumar Vikram, Union Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Vijay Goel plays down his tussle with Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari and talks about his affinity for Delhi and its people. He stresses that the best days of Indian football are yet to come and reiterates that there cannot be any sporting relationship with Pakistan if it harbours terrorism. Excerpts:
Keeping in view the upcoming FIFA U-17 World Championships, what is the ministry doing to promote football in India?
We are going through a golden period of football and the best is yet to come. With the upcoming FIFA U-17 World Cup in India (October this year) and the ongoing Mission 11 Million programme, which aims to take football across India among 11 million kids, India will surely be the next big bright spot in global football.
Where does Indian football stand in terms of global ranking? What needs to be done to compete globally?
With their ranking of 96, in July this year, the Indian National Football Team achieved its best-ever FIFA ranking since February 1996. India is currently placed 12th in Asian Football Confederation (AFC). We need to stay focused on the challenges. The government is committed to providing the best facilities to the players, coaches, and support staff.
What is your stand on sporting relationship
Terrorism and sports can’t go together. The relation between the two countries can be cordial only if Pakistan stops sponsoring cross-border terrorism… Our decision to stop bilateral sporting ties with Pakistan will force their people to put pressure on their government to act against terrorism.
There have been so many reports about political tussle between you and current Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari. What do you have to say on this?
I have no problems with anybody. The party has given me everything. The party gave me opportunity to become the minister. Now, it’s my turn to give back to the party. I am a fighter and will remain so.
Why are you so involved in Delhi activities nowadays? Recently, you took the initiative of ‘Adopt a slum’ and ‘Slum Marathon’. You have also advocated for reservation of Delhi residents in schemes meant for the city.
Delhi has given me everything. I have been a three-time Lok Sabha MP from here. As far as initiatives such as ‘Slum Marathon’ are concerned, these events enable us to gather youths and learn about their skills and ideas. We will organise mini-fests in slums on the themes of Swachhta, Digital India, Beti Bachao
Beti Padhao etc. The government aims to create model slums and create groups of youth who will work as agents of change.
Why are you pushing for reservation of Delhi residents in DDA’s housing scheme?
Currently, about 30-40 lakh people in Delhi are waiting to get their own home. However, because of the DDA policy, the actual allotment of a large number of flats is made to people who are not residents of Delhi. Meanwhile, the needy are staying in slum areas. I think those who have been in Delhi for many years should have a right on DDA scheme.