Overview of Sports Challenges and Policies in India

    • By,
      B Pradeep – Research Assistant, Kautilya

The complementarily of physical and mental health were stressed by the Greek philosopher Thales and the Roman poet Juvenal when both desired the idea of a ‘sound mind in a sound body’. Sports is one of the key determinants in the development of a sound body and plays a significant role in the development of fundamental movement abilities and physical competencies in the initial stages of life (Childhood), which are crucial prerequisites for later participation in lifestyle. A physically fit individual leads to an equally healthy society. There is growing evidence that sports can act as a catalyst for the development of personal and social skills among youngsters. The incorporation of sports into one’s day-to-day life increases confidence, self-image, and personality, as well as paves the path for a sports career. The potentialof sports to be considered as a career option gives rise to the question of its position and preference compared to other conventional career alternatives. In India most families pressurize their children to outshine in academics and work hard towards becoming an Engineer, doctors or successful entrepreneur. The underlying feeling is that sports does not fetch a decent livelihood or make one wealthy. There are numerous obstacles, including socioeconomic, linguistic, religious, cultural, dietary habits, societal taboos, and gender bias that hinder a huge chunk of India’s young aspiring population to continue their passion for sports. This throws the challenge of working out an in-depth assessment to learn about community perceptions of physical education and sports, particularly among young people, and what impediments they encounter in obtaining opportunities to hone their sporting talent

Potential sports persons are chosen and well facilitated by their family, community, and respective governments during their early teens in the rest of the world as compared to India. Sport has historically taken a back seat in the Indian education system. A shift in school attitudes about sports has the potential to reshape the sporting landscape and provide more possibilities for various sports roles. The government of India has been making many endeavors to improve the current mechanism of sports and the Khelo India initiative is one of them. The aim of the initiative is to strengthen sports and meet the twin goals of mass engagement and sports excellence. The games of the initial target the primary school children can serve as a platform for spotting emerging sporting talent in several categories. For the first time, an annual stipend for sporting equipment has been made available under the Samagra Shiksha. Every government school would get a sports grant of ₹ 5000 for primary schools, ₹10,000 for upper primary schools, and up to ₹25,000 for secondary and senior secondary schools to cover the cost of purchasing sports equipment for both indoor and outdoor games.

Despite these remarkable plans and rules, sports in India has been an arena where the application of the law has been lacking; India consistently ranks first when it comes to Anti-Doping Rule Violations or the World Anti-Doping Agency’s Adverse Analytical Findings. Many other hurdles exist in the form of ongoing legal fights, such as contractual violations, intellectual property violations, and conflicts. One major concern in India’s sports world is the lack of transparency and accountability of athletic federations and organizations, which, despite being regulated by the Indian government, enjoy unrestricted and monopolistic influence over the sports they regulate. Due to recent scandals and controversies, such as the IPL Scam, Olympic Gamesbidding scam, sexual harassment incidents in women’s hockey teams and many other sports, and the usage of forbidden performance-enhancing chemicals, there is an essential need for a stringent regulation in sports.

The existing Indian sports governance paradigm clearly lacks accountability and transparency, creating a climate susceptible to widespread corruption. Many analysts believe that scarce public investible resources have evaded sports at both the national and international levels in India. Misallocation, lack of transparency, poor asset management, and the lack of a framework for monitoring the impact of government expenditure exacerbate the problem. In order to fix the current impediments of the sports in India there is a need to develop policies to encourage as many students as possible to participate in sporting events and competitions at the university level, Developing a holistic approach to skill, agility, flexibility, poise, coordination, strength, and endurance, among other things. Persuading the media to use its pen and voice to improve public perceptions of sports and games. In physical education and sports-related courses, review and modify obsolete curriculum, teaching and learning methodologies, theory, and practicum assessment rubrics India would have to invest extensively in contemporary facilities and a strong grassroots system if it wants to become a sporting nation.


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*The Kautilya School of Public Policy (KSPP) takes no institutional positions. The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author(s) and do not reflect the views or positions of KSPP.