Government’s think-tank Niti Aayog has devised a short-term and medium-to-long term action plan to help India achieve 50 medals in 2024 summer Olympics.
The premier policy-making body said it is “disappointing” that the world’s second-most populous country with world-class talent in various disciplines has not been able to produce champions in sports.
In its action plan for “revitalising sports in India”, Niti Aayog said India still does not have a conducive environment for sports to polish the talent of Indian sportspersons and make them at par with their global counterparts.
“Efforts need to be undertaken at each level, from family and communities to schools, regional academies, states and national level. These efforts need to be aimed at radically increasing the level of sporting activities, filling the gaps in the system and monitoring for lags,” it said.
Such efforts should help in overcoming existing societal barrier towards sports that can be summarised in the popular phrase, “Kheloge kudoge to honge kharab, padhoge likhoge to banoge nawab”, it added.
The short-term vision (4-8 years) envisages targeting a group of priority sports, organising sportspersons into three groups for each priority sport, harnessing the potential of indigenous and regional sports, selecting world-class coaches as well as a grading system for coaches.
It will also focus on a sports injury insurance scheme, strengthening and scaling up of existing SAI training centres, facilitating creation of sports academies for individual sports, creating a digital database for sports, implementing national sports code and sports Bill and promoting revenue generating methods for team leagues of priority sports.
While the medium to long term vision (8-15 years) will focus on identifying talent at a young age, having sports curriculum in schools, a dedicated training programme for coaches, encouraging development of sports infrastructure through private or PPP mode and developing a health and psychological support division.
Stress in the medium to long term will also be on the consistent funding of contracts, hosting international events in priority sports as well as promoting a culture of sports in the country.
On funding of sportspersons, Niti Aayog said it has been observed that various sportspersons and/or sports academies receive erratic funding from one year to another.
To overcome this and provide constant support, it is recommended by the Aayog that after each Olympics, a fixed 4-year contract is signed between SAI (Sports Authority of India) and sportspersons from Group A sportspersons, keeping in mind the funding required by them up to the next Olympics and other international events in between.
For Group B and C also, the budgets for the next 4 years should be fixed, with consistent funding allocation for each year. Funding data for all the groups should be publicly made available as soon as it gets finalised, it suggested.