Development of Sports is usually not an important focus area for governments. Is the Khelo India scheme any different? What are the features of this scheme?

The Sports
eco-system in India leaves much to be desired in an international context.
Right from the scope of identifying talent, to the infrastructure in place to
nurture the talent – India has over the years been lagging on this front.

Many initiatives
have been taken up by successive governments to improve sports infrastructure
and the overall functioning across the country. While there has been a lot of
improvement over the years, a lot is yet to be achieved.

‘Khelo India’
is a new initiative by the current NDA government to improve the sports
infrastructure in India as well as to identify and nurture sports talent.

New scheme
formed by merger of earlier schemes

Prior to the
launch of Khelo India, sports promotion and development in India was carried
out through three separate schemes:

  1. Rajiv Gandhi
    Khel Abhiyan:
    Infrastructure in rural areas and encouraging sports through
    competitions
  2. Urban
    Infrastructure Scheme:
    Development of Infrastructure in urban areas.
  3. National Sports
    Talent Search:
    Identifying sports talent

These three
programme were merged into a single central sector scheme ‘Khelo India:
National Programme for Development of Sports’
from the
financial year 2016-17. The program is run under the aegis of Union Ministry of
Youth & Sports.

Khelo India Scheme_Older schemes merger

Identification
and nurturing of talent main aim of Khelo India Scheme

One of the key
objectives of the scheme is to identify talented athletes from across the
country and nurture the talent through guidance and developed infrastructural facilities.
In this context, Khelo India has four objectives:

  • Conduct structured annual sports competition and encourage Mass
    participation of youth.
  • Identify talent through these competitions.
  • Guidance and nurturing of the talent through the existing and new
    infrastructure
  • Creation of Sports infrastructure at various levels.

To facilitate these objectives Khelo India Scheme has four components.

Khelo India Scheme_Objectives

a.Competition: Sports competition would be held at Block/District/State and National level.

The
competitions are conducted for different age-groups:

  • 6-12 years
  • 12-18 years
  • 18-36 years
  • 36-50 years
  • Above 50 years

The competitions for above 36 age group are in context of encouraging general health. Physically challenged athletes have a separate set of competitions.  The first edition of Khelo India School games were held in New Delhi between 30 January 2018 and 07 February 2018.

A larger event, Khelo India Youth Games was held in Pune, Maharashtra between 09 January to 20 January 2019. The next edition would be held in Guwahati, Assam in 2020.

b. Sponsorship: Under Khelo India Scheme, the funding for sports promotion and development has switched from centrally aided scheme to Central Sector Scheme. The State and local authorities would continue to be involved but within the capacity of assistance regarding, identifying land for infrastructure, conducting competitions etc. Another unique aspect of the scheme would be the encouragement for PPP (Public -Private Partnership), where in the organizers of the events are free to invite private sponsors to contribute financially and in kind. The funds can be used in creation and upgradation of the sporting facilities.

c. Talent: As indicated earlier, one of the key purposes of the scheme is to identify sporting talent.  Talented sportspersons among the participants form the competitions conducted at District, State and National levels are identified under the age groups of 6-12 and 12-18.

These selected
candidates are eligible for scholarships or admission into SAI (Sports
Authority of India) Centres and Sports Academies. The athletes are selected for
Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD) programme, where they would receive training
in the accredited academies and SAI centers.

The support is
in the nature of expert coaches, sports equipment, boarding & lodging,
sports kits, competition exposure, educational expenses, medical. Insurance,
stipends etc.  Sporting talent selected
for LTAD receive financial
assistance of Rs. 5 lakh per annum
.

As per a press release on 08 July 2019, the concerned minister responding to a question in Rajya Sabha stated that 2,437 individuals across 20 sports disciplines are selected under Talent Search & Development of Khelo India.

d. Infrastructure:

Prior to Khelo
India Scheme, USIS (Urban Sports Infrastructure Scheme) was mandated with the
responsibility of creating sports infrastructure. However, this scheme is now
merged into the Khelo India Scheme.

Under the new
scheme, infrastructure is being developed both in the existing SAI Centres as
well as identifying new spaces for sports infrastructure. Currently Khelo India
provides Infrastructure support for 46 recognized
SAI Centres
.

Khelo India Scheme_46 recognized SAI Centres

To meet the
objectives of Khelo India, the entire programme is divided in 12 verticals as
mentioned in the below picture.

Khelo India Scheme_12 Vertical divisions

Online Registration for Khelo India

Athletes and
coaches can register for Khelo India, through online registration link. There are three
options for registration as new user – Athlete, Coach or Technical Official.

Selecting the
suitable option, leads to an online form:

Along with personal details (Including Aadhaar), furnishing the details of the respective sport is mandatory.

25 sport disciplines are enlisted apart from disciplines for Para-athletes. Once the details are entered, the profile can be created.

Once the details are entered, the profile can be created.

Rs. 199.31 crores released to States/UTs in 2018-19 under Khelo India scheme

Responding to
question in Lok Sabha on 25 July 2019, the concerned minister for Sports stated that for
2018-19
, a sum of Rs. 199.31 crores was allocated to the states/UTs for
sanctioned infrastructure projects and for the conduct of sports competitions.

This amount is
less than the sanctioned amount of Rs. 223.27 crores in 2017-18. During
2016-17, the first year for Khelo India scheme a total of 108.48 crores was
sanctioned.

Over the last
three years, Uttar Pradesh has received the highest amount with Rs. 59.93
crores, followed by Arunachal Pradesh with Rs. 58.82 crores. Rajasthan received
the third highest amount over the three years with Rs. 56.48 crores.

Among the
larger states, Bihar has received the least amount over the three years with
only Rs.0.76 crores.

In a press release on 27June, 2019, the Government of India provided details of the key achievements of Khelo India Scheme. It remains to be seen if these changes to the scheme result in any substantial improvement in India’s performance in multilateral competitions.

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