Gill for redesigning Arjuna, Dronacharya statuettes

May 29th, 2009 - 9:24 pm ICT by IANS  

Harbhajan Singh New Delhi, May 29 (IANS) Sports Minister M.S. Gill has set in motion the process to re-design the statuettes of the four sports awards, including the Arjuna Award and the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, on the lines of the Oscars and the Filmfare awards.
After taking office Thursday for the second consecutive time, Gill said: “Last year, during the awards ceremony, I was horrified to see those statues packed in big boxes for the sportsperson. I thought we have to re-design the awards to make them smarter.”

“I consulted with my officers and downloaded the pictures of Oscar and Filmfare awards and we are working on our designs. I can assure you that that there will be vast improvement in the design of the bronze statuettes,” he said.

The other two awards whose statuettes will be redesigned are the Dronacharya Award and the Tenzing Norgay Award.

Gill also said that the ministry will not allow anyone to skip the awards ceremony unless the recipients are on national duty.

“We had issued directives to all the sports federations in January that sportspersons have to be present in person to take the awards from the president. If they are not able to attend the ceremony due to national duty, they should inform the sports ministry well in advance and the sports minister will present the award later. It was only after last month’s Padma awards fiasco that we decided to issue the directive again,” he said.

“Can you send a substitute to take an award from the Queen of England? So how can you send a substitute to accept an award from the president of India,” said Gill.

Indian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and quickie Harbhajan Singh had raised many an eyebrow when they skipped last month’s Padma awards ceremony.

Gill said that the home ministry, which decides the Padma Awards, is free to consider recommendations about sportspersons made by other departments but should consult his ministry before finalising the names.

The sports minister also said that he is planning to from a good and honest selection committee for the sports awards.

“My job is to ensure that the awards are fair. So my aim will be to have honest persons in the selection committee,” he said.

Gill also said that he was planning to increase the pension of retired athletes and also encourage youngsters to take up adventure sports.

“Last time I did my best to increase the monthly pension from Rs.4,000 to Rs.8,000. Doubling any figure in our country is nothing short of a miracle. This time also, I will plead with the finance minister to allocate more money for sportspersons,” he said.

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