Sports in India: Development, Issues & Reform Measures
The author is Bhanu Pratap Samantaray, 2nd Year Student at National Law University, Odisha
“Sports are one among the foremost admired activities in India. Almost nearly everyone makes themselves indulge in some sort of sports starting from hockey, cricket, football, badminton, court game to golf, swimming, and athletics. The India of these days plays with a competitive frame of mind. The society has been modified with time and opportunities out there. Today, parents encourage their children to indulge themselves in various sports or games and earn name and fame for themselves. With the growing demand for all the sports, the requirement to possess an athletic body has additionally gained a great importance.”
“To take Indian Sports to new heights, the task of governing and promoting them in India have fallen on variety of Indian sports associations. Sports organisations, just like the Indian Olympic Association and Sports Authority of India, are approaching with numerous other ways towards raising the quality of Indian sports through numerous talent promotion programs and many others. A number of sports academies and institutes are actively concerned in the grooming of Indian sportsmen. Moreover, there are numerous corporate houses standing to the rescue of sponsors-starved games. India has started an annual award for corporations that promote sports within the nation of over a billion.”
DEVELOPMENTS IN INDIAN SPORTS SOCIETY
Schemes to Promote Sporting Talent
National Sports Talent Contest, the Special area Games, etc. are some of the schemes and programmes thus developed by the Sports Authority Of India solely for the promotion as well as the betterment of sports in the country. Through the National Sports Talent Contest, SAI tries to extract the talent in youngsters of the Asian country, aged between eight and fourteen years. While choosing a college for these youngsters, SAI rigorously analyses the sports facilities and residential infrastructure on the market within the schools. The army Boys Sports Company (ABSC), in association with the Indian Army authorities, is maintained by SAI, whereby boys aged between eight and fourteen years are chosen and trained. The selected candidates are supplied with correct facilities and infrastructure to hone their skills in their adopted disciplines. SAI provides sports equipment for the trainees, kit, stipend as well as coaches. SAI has conjointly established SAI coaching Centres (STC) to catch them young and train them to become athletes.
‘GoSports’ is a venture that originated in 2006. It consists of the folks from various backgrounds WHO have moved forward to supply the proper ingredients to develop the sports business. It works as a Sport Management Consultancy to assist excellent sportsmen in getting what they’re capable of. They’re making themselves readily available to aid the gifted players in their career management such that they will think about their game and leave the remaining to others. Go Sports conjointly lend a hand in formulating policies to push sports in schools and government bodies.
After being scoffed at for years, Indian sportspersons have gotten due recognition within the world arena. Recent achievements of Indian players in numerous games and tournaments have earned them the respect they are to be provided with and the media coverage, facilitating them propagating their individual games. Abhinav Bindra awarded with gold in the Olympics and bronze to Vijender Kumar, and Sushil Kumar at Beijing is worth mentioning. The arrogance of the Indian boxers has never been thus convincing. Saina Nehwal has earned the second position within the court game world that most of the people believe isn’t a surprise taking Saina’s labor into consideration. Somdev and Yuki Bhambri are ready to boost Indian lawn tennis to a different level. Squash, too, is obtaining its due within the country. Sunil Chettri’s stint with Kansas city could be a positive indicator of accelerating recognition of soccer in India.
PROBLEMS FACED BY INDIAN SPORTS SOCIETY
The Union Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore recently mooted his point of view in a series of tweets seeking to remove the word ‘Authority’ from the Sports Authority of India (SAI) as the phrase lost meaning in the current sporting situation. Besides, the Minister expressed concern about the desperate condition of sporting icons struggling to meet fundamental needs. The Minister’s statement on the current sports situation has contributed to a discussion on developing the country’s sports environment. Against this context, it is important to understand the factors that adversely affect sports in India and the government’s steps to correct the situation.
Some possible reasons for the substandard development of sports in India
- Corruption & Faulty management of sports authorities: Corruption in India has been synonymous with the sports administration. Whether it is the most common cricket or hockey or bodybuilding, most of India’s sports authorities have been subjected to corruption charges. In addition, for a very long time, the involvement of politicians in the administration of sports bodies and scandals that took place in the 2010 Commonwealth Games weakened the reputation of sports directors in India.
- Social and economic inequalities: The negative impact on Indian sport is attributed to social and economic inequality. Due to severe financial circumstances, the denial of access to sports facilities, the concentration of stadiums and alternative sports avenues primarily in cities, the lack of motivation for women to engage in sports, etc., the development of a healthy sports culture within the country has been impaired.
- Lack of infrastructure: This could be one of the most significant factors in India’s apathy for the sport. Since infrastructure is important for the practice and organization of games, the lack of availability and access to only a handful of parts of society has adversely affected sports participation.
- Policy lacunae: It very well for the betterment of any sector, formulation and execution of an efficient policy could be a sine qua non. This can be true for sports as well. Till date, the sports policy, coming up with and implementation, is centralized within the country because of the scarcity of resources and also the experience by the State and native governments. Moreover, the absence of a separate ministry of sports at the union level has always remained a serious debate that reflects the critical condition of sports in the country.
- Meagre allocation of resources: The distribution of monetary resources is low in India compared to various developed and developing countries. Rs 1943 crore was allocated for sports under the 2017-18’s Union Budget. Although that was Rs 450 crore more than the previous year, compared to around Rs 9000 crore spent on the sports sector annually by the United Kingdom, it is much less.
REFORM MEASURES BY THE UNION GOVERNMENT
- In September 2017, for the period of 2017-18 to 2019-20, the Union cabinet approved the revised Khelo India Programme at a price of Rs.1,756 crore. The programme’s main goal is to incorporate sport as an instrument for individual growth, community development, economic development, and national development. The updated Khelo India programme will affect the entire sports system as well as on infrastructure, community sports, talent recognition, competition structure, and the sports economy.
- In March 2017, 12 globally recognized Indian players were nominated by the government in which, for the very first time, as National Observers, solely for the purpose of the positive growth of assorted sports within the region. They analyse the prevailing sports infrastructure/equipment, scientific support, and standard of medical facilities at the venues of the national coaching camps, among various responsibilities, and report the critical gaps.
- Monetary assistance to promote the visibility, exercise, and participation of girls/women at national/international level has been given to the recognised National Sports Federations (NSFs) under the “Assistance to National Sports Federations” project.
- In order to make the requisite facilities available and assist the athletes in their preparation for the 2020 Olympics, the government agreed to the hiring of international coaching and support personnel.
- The Central Sector initiative, Khelo India – National Programme for Development of Sports, was approved by the government in April 2016. It subsumes the erstwhile Rajiv Gandhi Khel Abhiyan, Urban Sports Infrastructure initiative, and National Sports Talent Search System Programme
Despite the aforementioned measures taken by the government, the sports ecosystem is of poor quality within the country. For a nation of over 1.25 billion, the prevailing sports infrastructure isn’t satisfactory. Therefore, the shortage of best infrastructure and the government’s inadequate support is sort of well displayed in the poor performance of Indian athletes in major international events just like the Olympics. Small countries like Cuba, European nation and Lithuania performed well in the 2016 athletics compared to India. It’s time, the public and private sector are required to join together to elevate the Indian sports sector from the current deplorable scenario. Extension of Justice Lodha Committee recommendations on BCCI to all or any alternative sports bodies is the right step in this direction.
However, this cannot merely be the end, and therefore the work needs to be carried off to push sports in each and every field of discipline. They have to push sports, not only as a decent career but also as a decent business proposition too. We want the media to clear its stand to the fore-front and facilitate re-vitalize the sports that have gone down the recognition charts. The channels got to show live coverage of assorted games and not simply cricket.
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