Sports Infrastructure – plays a crucial role in achieving excellence in the global arena of sports. It not only helps in producing sports persons of international reputation but also encourages the young population of the country to participate in sporting activities with the objective of creating a culturing of sports.
In India, the standard of Sports Infrastructure is not at a satisfactory level for a number of reasons but has come a long way.
Despite all the successes, it is pertinent to mention that the status of sports infrastructure in India is yet to reach the desired level. This creates an obstacle in developing a culture of sports in the country.
Importance of sports Infrastructure :
Sports Infrastructure plays a crucial role in achieving excellence in the global arena of sports. It not only helps in producing sports persons of international repute, but also encourages the young population of a country to participate in sporting activities with the objective of creating a culturing of sports.
Sports as a social enabler :
Sports and games have historically played a significant role in development of personality traits and qualities like discipline, tolerance and leadership amongst the youth. With adequate support, planning and focused implementation, immense potential of the India’s youth can be gainfully channelized through sporting activities.
The realization of their true potential will not only build future character, but is a conduit of national integration. More importantly, our top sportsmen come from diverse parts of the country, many with limited Sports Infrastructure, thus indicating huge unexplored potential.
A road-map to Sports Infrastructure :
Over the last decade there has been a spurt in the development of Sports Infrastructure and facilities in the country. With the increase of capital investments and successful hosting of events such as the Commonwealth Games-2010, ICC World Cup-2011, the Indian Premier League, the F1 Indian Grand Prix in 2011, the Under 17 FIFA World Cup-2017.
The Indian Badminton and Soccer League are also included in this. There are enormous commercially exploitable opportunities present in the Indian sports industry. However, the regulation of the Indian sports industry is highly decentralized and fragmented.
Regulation of the sector :
There is no national or state legislation for regulation of sports in India. The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (MYAS) was set up by the Government of India to create the infrastructure and promote capacity building for broad-basing sports as well as for achieving excellence in different competitive events at National and International levels.
The National Sports Policy of 2001 was formulated to undertake the development and promotion of various sports prevalent in the country. Sports promotion is primarily the responsibility of different National Sports Federations (NFS’s)which are autonomous in nature. The MYAS issues notifications and guidelines from time to time to regulate the NSFs.
Key issues plaguing the Sports Infrastructure :
Sports development in India is often hampered by bureaucracy and politics because of the low level of private sector involvement. Many federations are highly dependent on Government funding for carrying out their key objectives, such as organizing championships, procuring equipment, and training sports persons; a model which increases the probability of breeding inefficiencies.
Further, lack of accountability of sports federations, and the restrictive and non-competitive guidelines of the Khelo India program are other factors hampering the participation of private players in the development of Sports Infrastructure. There is also a lack of clear guidelines on asset utilization and monetization.
Sports Infrastructure in India :
Sports is primarily a State subject under the Constitution of India, and a huge portion of the sports infrastructure is owned and managed by State Governments. Sports Authority of India (“SAI”) builds and maintains stadia on behalf of the MYAS (infrastructure owned and managed by the Central Government).
The Central Government through its ‘Khelo India’ initiative, has allowed grants for certain Sports Infrastructure projects and sports facilities creation at the state/union territories/district/sub-district level. State Governments and other local authorities may seek the benefit of these grants.
However, the beneficiary of such a grant has to enter into a Memorandum of understanding (“MoU”) with SAI in order to provide the latter access, for a minimum of ten years, to the facilities on a time-sharing basis for training of the trainees of SAI and holding competitions.
The utilization of the sum for development of sports infrastructure will be limited to the strict guidelines under the scheme.
Recent scenario :
More parents are encouraging their children to play sports and seek a career in it. They have faith that sports can also provide the platform for a healthy and a decent future. This change is happening from the last decade and it is convincing that India has arrived as a sporting nation.
The day is not very far when India will be a force to reckon with on the world stage. It is good that the country have an Olympic Medalist as Union Sports Minister. This is a welcome change because the athletes are beginning to have faith in the system.
Constant improvement :
India has begun to offer competition in games which are not a big name at home. This is due because we do have talent. In traditional games like hockey, tennis, badminton and athletics, there is impressive progress.
Swimmers have begun to make a mark and promise in the international arena.
According to Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore after he became the Sports Minister he declared the year 2018 as the year of Sports for India. Before his tenure no army recruitment took place in Jaipur district.
Budget support – sports infrastructure :
In India, the Union budget for 2018-19 provided Rs.2196.35 crore for sports. Out of this Rs.520.09 went to Khelo India, the governments initiative program to search for the talent. The budget of Sports Authority of India was cut by Rs.66 crore. This curtailed freedom to be liberal with proposals from national sports federations.
There is a need to concentrate on creating new infrastructure and updating the old facilities. Foreign exposure of our sports persons is needed.
A Cultural change :
Over the last decade, a lot of athletes have not only been at the top of the world but have also inspired a generation of athletes to look at dominating in different sports.
Importantly there has been a big cultural change in the belief system. Athletes no longer feel as though they are inferior in their international counterparts and that is probably the most heartening aspect of Indian Sport.
Some of the major initiatives taken for the development of Sports Infrastructure in India are mentioned below:
· Scheme of Grants for Creation of Sports Infrastructure including Rural Schools, for which INR 942.5 million was allocated
· Scheme of Grants for Installing of Synthetic Playing Surfaces, for which INR 201.3 million was allocated
· Scheme of Grants for Promotion of Games and Sports in Universities and Colleges, for which INR 328 million was allocated
· Scheme of assistance for the creation of Urban Sports infrastructure
The non-availability of land for building sports infrastructure is another major obstacle. Moreover, not much initiative has been observed till now in promoting sports-specific infrastructure by adopting PPP model to ensure the sustainability of these facilities.