From the Tokyo Olympics to the recent Commonwealth Games 2022 in the UK, Indian athletes have been shining in sports across the globe and bringing in laurels for the country. The Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports is vital in encouraging sports culture. The Sports Authority of India (SAI) supports the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports also exists for the advancement of Sports and Games in the country. They collectively formulate, build and execute the progression of changes, policies, and schemes to help the sports department further the talent of our country.
The central government spending on sports has been steadily increasing, from INR 702 crore in 2014-15 to INR 2,216 crore in 2019-20’s interim budget and to INR 3062.60 cr as per the latest budget in early 2022. This clearly reflects how the nation is progressing towards building its sports talent and taking them to global fronts.
Here is how some of the schemes, policies, and actions have built a unique set of talent in the country while also encouraging grassroots talent to come to the forefront:
– Building a culture of sports at the school level
Three schemes of –
Rajiv Gandhi Khel Abhiyan,
The Urban Sports Infrastructure Scheme,
c. National Sports Talent Search System
Were all amalgamated into one large scheme for the country, coined the Khelo India scheme? This scheme’s focus and essence is to encourage youth participation in annual sports competitions and build a series of sporting facilities at the grassroots level.
– Launching a National Sports Talent Search System
In 2015, this search system was launched wherein state governments offered financial assistance to identify, nurture and build unique talent in their states who can be pitched as prospective athletes for the country at national to international level games. The age group was set between eight to twelve years old children.
– Sports and Games for Persons with disabilities scheme
Under this scheme, there is much-needed encouragement given to differently-abled people to help empower them to reach their potential. These people are trained in their field of sports to conduct sports competitions. Along with this, schools and institutions assist the differently abled to achieve their maximum potential in their chosen sport.
– Target Olympic Podium Scheme
The Indian Sports ministry launched the ‘Target Olympic Podium (TOP)’ Scheme in 2015 under the direct fund of the National Sports Development Fund (NSDF). This was set up to aid with the medal possibilities for the Olympic Games 2016 and 2020. A few sports given the main centre were Badminton, Boxing, Archery, Wrestling, Shooting, and Athletics. From our badminton squad, including the likes of PV Sindhu to Neeraj Chopra – we have seen the talent bring in Gold medals repeatedly.
Another notable scheme for the Olympics and many other national and international games is the Steering Committee on Sports (ESC). Set up in 2017 with a recommendation of the Olympic Task Force, ESC is answerable for preparing a future-forward, far-reaching action plan for impactful Indian participation in the Olympics Games in Tokyo (2020), Paris (2024) and Los Angeles (2028).
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– Giving the Sports Industry a much-needed recognition
With our country’s growth rate and a growing population ready for consumption, the sports sector is a territory still unexplored to its depths and widths. With a boom in the multi-sporting events, leagues, and esports taking over – the sporting sector is ever so rising. India now hosts the Indian Premier League (IPL), Pro Kabbadi League, Indian Badminton League, Indian Super League (football), and many others that have significantly impacted this sector’s overall growth in India.
This is building a sports entrepreneurship culture in the country with ample room to flourish for many yet to enter the space.
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– Promotion of education programs, academics, and Industry-based sports courses
With the sports sector on its path to gaining status as an industry on its own, there is an increase in demand for courses to train many students, youth and people otherwise interested in the sector towards specific jobs. Sports management, sports marketing, sports-based partnership and sponsorship management, trainers, coaches, sports medicine, sports tourism and the affiliated sectors are all growing in this sector.
The Sports Authority of India has set up ten national sports academies since 2014, and more are already in progress across the country. This encourages the private and NPO/NGO sector to also work on promoting sports education with growing work opportunities.
There is no doubt that India has emerged as a sporting nation and grown beyond cricket over the past few years. The Sports sector has generated many employment opportunities and only shows bullish signs. This has also come in sports-based apparel, equipment, sports medicine, sports tourism, sports-tech and emerging tech, and many other sports-related sectors.
A critical factor in this shift towards sports has also been the encouragement of sports start-ups in the country; the mass potential of this sector is yet to be explored in India, and there are only more exciting sporting times waiting for us to unfold them.
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