Sports Minister Vijay Goel on Friday said the government has strengthened its resolve to make doping a criminal offence in order to instill fear in the minds of sportsperson who indulge in such practices.
"We are trying to make doping a criminal offence, so that fear is instilled in the players and they restrain from getting involved in such practices," said Goel in New Delhi.
He said, to check the menace, other steps likes obtaining players' signatures, showing films and educating them about doping are also being considered by his ministry.
"We are planning to take signatures of the players, besides showing them films on doping and basically educating and spreading awareness about it," said the minister.
Asked how young students can be stopped from testing positive as most of the dope offenders are caught at the school and college levels rather than at the international arena, Goel said, "I think at least those who win medals at the school and college levels should be tested for dope."
The minister also said if those students who have applied in the Delhi University under the sports quota fail to get admission, the department would hold a trail for them separately.
"All those who will fail to get admission in the Delhi University, we would hold trials for them and the chosen ones would be put in some of the Sports Authority of India (SAI) centres," said Goel.
On the conditions of SAI centres across the country, the minister admitted that expect for Bangalore, Gwalior and Patiala, none of them are in great shape.
"Whenever I get a chance, I visit various SAI centres in the country but in most of them, I have found coaches to be not up to the mark. I have asked all SAI coaches to undergo medical and fitness examinations and will take action based on their reports."
He said that his ministry is working closely with National Sports Federations and act as a "patron" to them.
"We are working closely with the NSFs. I hold regular meetings with them and are looking at ways to improve the facilities for the players. But, at the same time, we have to ensure transparency and accountability of these NSFs."
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has recently approved big changes to the overall Olympic programme for Tokyo Games 2020 with a number of men's events replaced by women's or mixed events.
When Goel was asked how his ministry would ensure that it does not continue to spend money on those athletes whose weight categories would be revoked for the next Olympics, he said he is in touch with the respective NSFs.
"We should not be investing in those weight categories which are not there anymore in the Olympics. I have told all concerned NSFs to keep the ministry updated with the abolition and addition of categories in their respective sports," Goel clarified.
Photograph: Denis Balibouse/Reuters