The Sports Authority of India (SAI) will be renamed and restructured to make it more "lean and professional" with the government aiming to bring down its strength by 50 per cent by 2022, Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore said today. The word 'authority' will be removed from the name of the apex sports body as it has no place in this field, Rathore asserted in an interaction with journalists, adding that sports is all about "service". At present, a major chunk of the SAI's budget is diverted to non-sporting works.
The Centre will outsource such facilities so that it can focus on its core job of grooming sporting talents, he said. Rathore, Athens Olympic silver medalist, noted that the government was coming out with a host of measures to broad base its search of sporting talents and wanted to develop a culture of sports among school students. A 'talent hunt' will be launched across the country next year to pick young talents between 8-18 years of age, he said, adding they will be provided sports and education facilities in specially-selected schools. The Union minister said he was working to shift sports from government to professionals. He said his ministry will also push for fixing quota for sports persons in jobs, noting that the current rules provided for "up to five per cent" reservation for them. "We want a minimal quota to be fixed for sports persons," Rathore said. He added that if somebody wins a medal in Olympics, he should get reservation in even 'Grade A' jobs.