Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore has revealed that he plans to trim the staff at Sports Authority of India significantly in the next five years in an attempt to make the body more professional, according to an Economic Times report.

The shooter-turned-politician has often spoken about ridding Indian sport of bureaucracy and focusing on athletes. This is the latest in his plan to ensure accountability in Indian sport federations.

“We are going to cut strength of SAI by 50% by 2022. We don’t need so many people. Remaining people will be ably supported by professionals. All the sports bodies - SAI, National Sports Federations - have to step up in terms of delivery,” he was quoted as saying.

“Sports can’t be run by bureaucrats. Indian sports has suffered enough, but not anymore,” Rathore added.

On his first day in office, Rathore had made it clear that the philosophy of his ministry would be respect and facilities for athletes. The country’s first Olympian to become the Sports Minister, Rahore recalled the days when as an athlete, he had to take permission at the reception to enter the ministry premises.

“I know what hardships the athletes face,” Rathore, the 2004 Athens Games silver medallist in double trap, had said.

Days after becoming he had told SAI officials that their work has to be done keeping in mind “service”.

“He told them that SAI and all other stadiums should work with only one mentality and that is service. The administrator mentality has to go. The athletes should feel looked after since their needs are supreme,” a Sports Ministry official had told PTI.

The Sports Minister also said that the much-delayed Sports Code is a priority. “Our outlook towards the Sports Code is going to be very stringent. We are making sure that athletes are going to be at the centre of all the activities and that transparency and efficiency are of paramount importance,” Rathore told Economic Times.