NEW DELHI: Anurag Thakur on Thursday took charge as the country's 17th sports minister, succeeding Kiren Rijiju and promised to do everything possible to make India a sporting powerhouse.
The 46-year-old former Cricket Board President was given responsibility of sports and youth affairs along with the Information and Broadcasting ministry after he took oath as a cabinet minister on Wednesday.
He comes into office at a time when the nation's athletes are in the final stage of their preparations for the Olympic Games from July 23.
"I am grateful to the Hon'ble Prime Minister who gave me a new responsibility involving youth and sports. It is his belief, his love for sports and his ever-growing initiative which is taking Indian sports forward," he told reporters after taking charge.
"Whatever good work that has been done so far under Kiren ji (Rijiju) will continue. I would like to take everyone along and work for betterment of Indian sports," he said.
Thakur is the first cabinet minister since Mani Shankar Iyer (2006-2008) to get the sports ministry's responsibility.
He will have a young deputy in Bengal BJP leader Nisith Pramanik, who at 35, became the youngest minister in the cabinet.
Besides being appointed as minister of state for sports under Thakur, Pramanik has been given the additional responsibility as MoS in the Ministry of Home Affairs.
He is serving his first term as a Member of Parliament after winning from the Cooch Behar Lok Sabha seat in 2019.
Thakur said his vision as a sports minister is to fulfil Prime Minister Narendra Modi's dream of turning India into a sporting nation.
"I will try to take along the state governments, sports bodies, associations and federations. I want to see India doing well in sports and try to fulfil the dream of the Hon'ble Prime Minister," he said.
"Every individual tries to fulfil a responsibility given to him honestly. Whatever needs to be done for youth affairs and sports, we will do."
Thakur was the president of the BCCI between May 2016 and February 2017.
Before that, he was the secretary of the Board and also headed the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA).
A Member of Parliament from HP's Hamirpur constituency, Thakur was serving as the minister of state for finance and corporate affairs under Nirmala Sitharaman before Wednesday's cabinet reshuffle.
His brother Arun Dhumal is currently the treasurer of the BCCI.
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