Today sport emerges as an important component of socio-economic development of a country. The active participation in sports improves community health and productivity, reduces medical expenses, imbibes discipline in character and enhances social cohesion. The execution of a mega sporting event helps in developing infrastructure, generating employment, securing inflow of foreign capital and thus contributes significantly to the economic development of a country. Therefore, it can be said that the impact of sports on the society is multi-dimensional.
The government plays a crucial role in promoting sports in a country. The government and governmental organizations constitute the public sector of the sports industry, which is responsible in making sports policies, allocating grants for developing infrastructure, nurturing talents and designing specialized programmes for overall development of sports. The objective of this article is to discuss critically the role of government in promoting sports in India.
The year 1982 was significant in the history of sports in India. In that year, India organized the Asian Games for the first time. Prior to that, not much emphasis had been given to sports in public policies. The following table represents the gradual increase in fund allocation for sports since the sixth Five Year Plan:
|Five Year Plan||Duration||Allocation for Sports (INR million)|
Despite a significant increase in the fund allocation, it is pertinent to mention that not more than 1% of budgetary allocation has been directed to sports in India.
The Panchyat Yuva Krida Aur Khel Abhiyan (PYKKA) had been introduced to inculcate sports culture at the grass-root level by encouraging the youth of village and district levels to participate in sports. To achieve this objective, Rs. 1500 crore had been approved by the Planning Commission of India in the eleventh Five Year Plan and Rs. 92 crore and Rs. 160 crore had already been allocated for 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 respectively.
Despite these efforts, the performance of Indian athletes at the international level is not very convincing. Therefore, a few steps may be recommended to make these initiatives more comprehensive. First, the allocation of funds, as the percentage of budget, should be increased to broad-base sports in the country. Second, sports should be made as an integral part of the education system to inculcate sports culture from the school level. Third, the effectiveness of the developmental projects should be evaluated periodically. Fourth, uniformity should be maintained in sports specific activities of various states of India to provide equal participation opportunity to its citizens. Finally, a structure of good governance should be incorporated to make the system transparent and accountable.
To revive sports culture, the government should revisit the sporting framework of India. Otherwise, the immense potential of the country in sports can never be realized. It can be expected that the government will play a proactive role in promoting sports in India to establish the country as a sporting nation.
Ankan Banerjee is a faculty member at the Department of Sports Management of Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management (IISWBM) in Kolkata, India. Contact Banerjee at email@example.com.
The disappointing performance of the Indian athletes and players in the Olympic, has made the people to think about the condition of sports in India. Despite our huge size in terms of population, we have not been able to leave our impact on international sports. Otherwise also Indian sports has not been able to achieve the standard which they were supposed to achieve. Athletes have been much below the standard and since the Olympic games started India has been able to bag hardly a few gold medals. Moreover, most of the medals were bagged either by our Hockey team or by our wrestlers. Does it mean that the people in India have no interest in sports and games.
In fact it has been again and again pointed out that politics in the Sports Organizations of India has spoiled the sports. The selections are mostly based on favoritism and some of the outstanding sports persons are just ignored because they do not happen to be related to some influential person. Moreover, the sports bodies go on planning tours and matches fielding sub-standard sports person without thinking that the national pride will receive a serious setback in case we are unable to win. Some of the Ministers and the political leaders want to be at the helm of affairs so that they may be able to embezzle sports funds. Under such circumstances, it is not possible to raise the standard of sports in India.
Another reason for the decline of sports in India is that we have been mostly concentrating upon the young people living in the cities. We have ignored the villagers, the tribal people and others. In fact those who live in the cities generally do not enjoy good health because of the polluted atmosphere and filthy environment. As they are brought up in the lap of luxury they cannot be hardily people. But in order to draw the attention of the villagers to sports we will have to have playgrounds as well as the facility for playing games in the villages. Competitions among the villages should be arranged periodically.
The sports competitions should be given much publicity and should be organized on a grand scale. Similarly, some adventurous coaches should get hold of the tribal young people for importing training in the different fields of sports and games. Perhaps these people can participate in some of the sports events like long jumps, archery, high jumps and races in a more successful manner.
Sports persons in India have to suffer because they are not given proper facilities. Sportspersons need very rich diet and also certain other conditions which may develop their talent properly. Some of the top sportsmen or women are given jobs in good firms but the sportspersons of the lower grade are completely ignored. When they retire from active sports they do not have anything to fall back upon. No financial help is given by any institution. This discourages the young people from taking part in sports.
Above all sports facilities are not provided to the young children in big cities. They cannot play whichever game they like, only because they have to go to far off places for joining a club or a sports organization. There should be playgrounds in every colony and every child should have a free access to it. Moreover, competitions among them should be encouraged. It is better if some dynamic person should be given the duty of producing good sportsmen or women. Till we make a definite policy for developing sports in India, simple training and coaching will not help them. There should be free exchange of sportsmen and women so that they are able to learn something about the international standard.