Govt to merge all centrally-sponsored schemes as part of improving sports infrastructure

New Delhi: After consultation with the state governments/Sports Authority of India (SAI), etc., the government has decided to restructure and merge a number of centrally sponsored schemes, including the centrally sponsored scheme- the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Abhiyan scheme into one central sector scheme to address talent search, grooming of talent and provision of infrastructure to ensure its effective implementation.

At present, the central government is implementing only one centrally sponsored scheme for development of sports, the RGKA, with effect from 1 April 2014. This scheme provides for construction of an integrated sports complex in each block of the country, both for outdoor and indoor sports disciplines and also provides for grant-in-aid for holding competitions at block, district, state and national levels.

The RGKA provides for funding of infrastructure component through convergence of various schemes implemented by Rural Development, Panchayati Raj, and Development of North East Region ministries, and the erstwhile Planning Commission.

However, sports ministry officials told that no funds could be obtained towards infrastructure due to non-convergence of various schemes by the concerned ministries.

The SAI under the Ministry implements seven sports promotional schemes all over the country in order to identify young sports talent in the age group ranging from 8 to 25 years and to nurture them to excel at national and international competitions. These are National Sports Talent Contest (NSTC); Army Boys Sports Company (ABSC); SAI Training Centre (STC); Special Area Games (SAG); Extension Centres of STC/SAG; Centre of Excellence (COE); and SAI National Sports Academies.

Meanwhile revising earlier guidelines, government-appointed observers will keep it informed about fair play in the selection of teams, performance of teams at international level, training of sub-junior and junior level athletes and performance of Indian and foreign coaches.

The government observers will also study the infrastructural gaps at national coaching camps and play an important role in preparation of Annual Calendar of Training and Competitions (ACTC). In addition, they will provide technical advice to Sports Authority of India and will maintain data on individual athletes and coaches.

Initially, the government observers will be appointed for high priority / priority category sports disciplines. Each sports discipline will be provided 1 male and 1 female government observer. Foreigners may also be considered for such appointments.

The government observers will be appointed through open advertisements. They will not be paid regular salary, but honorarium for their work which will be dependent on the number of their visits to national coaching camps etc. – thus establishing a direct relationship between their work and payment.

Meanwhile, Meghalaya proposes to bid for National Games in 2022. Allotment of National Games is done by the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) from the bids submitted by the States.  Realizing the potential of talented sports persons available in the North-Eastern Region, the ministry is providing support for creation and development of sports infrastructure to the states in that part of the country.

Under the Urban Sports Infrastructure Scheme (USIS), the ministry has approved grant of Rs.87.5 crore for 15 sports infrastructure projects such as multi-purpose halls, astro-turfs for hockey, synthetic athletic tracks, during the period from 2010-11 to 2015-16 (upto 31 December 2015) and released grant to the tune of Rs.53.25 crore during this period in the region.

Financial assistance from the National Sports Development Fund (NSDF) had also been provided for sports infrastructure projects viz., Mary Kom Regional Boxing Foundation for Construction of Gymnasium Hall and Procurement/ Installation of GYM Equipment (Rs.5.54 crore) and Dibrugarh University for Creation of Sports facilities in 10 affiliated colleges (Rs.2.23 crore).

SAI has five training centres, 8 Special Area Games (SAG) Centres and 2 Centres of Excellence (CoE) in the North Eastern Region, where sports infrastructure in the form of athletic tracks, hockey turfs, tennis courts, football grounds, multi-purpose halls, basketball courts etc. is available.

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