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Development of Sports in Rural India


If we look at the list of medal winners from the Tokyo Olympic Games 2020 and Paralympics 2020, we will find that most of them are from far-flung rural areas of the country, so without any hesitation, we can say that sports have deep roots in rural India.


  • To take sports to the next level, an Olympic Task Force of experts from their respective fields was formed.
  • They suggested a roadmap to boost India’s performance in Olympic Games.
  • With the recent Olympics performance, the sports fraternity is positive that India is now changing and showing its presence in the world arena.

Responsibilities of the States

  • In our country, sports is a state subject and the primary responsibility of the promotion of sports, including identifying young sportspersons and nurturing them to excel in national and international sports events, rests with state governments.
  • Laws for sports are to be made by the States.
  • The funding at the grassroots is done by the states.

Responsibility of Centre

  • The Government of India supplements the efforts of state governments and National Sports Federations through its various sports promotional schemes.
  • Various sports federations are responsible for the development of sports and the generation of funds. They are supported by the Government of India.
  • The recent government introduced programs ‘Khelo India’ and ‘Target Olympic Podium Scheme’ has been a great success.
  • Several schemes were formulated by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports to promote sports in the country(including in rural, tribal and backward areas).
    •  (i) Khelo India Scheme
    • (ii) Assistance to National Sports Federations;
    • (iii) Special Awards to winners in international sports events and their coaches;
    • (iv) National Sports Awards, Pension to Meritorious sportspersons;
    • (v) Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay National Sports Welfare Fund;
    • (vi) National Sports Development Fund; and
    • (vii) Running sports training centres through Sports Authority of India.
  • The majority of the sportspersons benefitting from these schemes belong to the rural, backward, tribal and women population of the country and are provided with regular training on a residential and non-residential basis as per the approved norms of the schemes.

Khelo India Programme

  • The Government has launched the Khelo India Scheme in 2017 with a mandate for the identification of talent and nurturing sporting talent to attain the highest levels of achievement at international levels.
  • The Scheme covers pan India i.e. both urban and rural areas.
  • Under the Khelo India Scheme, talent search has been started at the grassroots level in two categories:
    • (i) Sports potential talent identification
    • (ii) Proven talent identification.
  • Further, India is divided into five zones namely North, East, West, South and North-East Zones to carry out talent identification.
  • Grassroot Zonal Talent Identification Committees are formed to reach out to every corner of the country to shortlist potential and proven athletes.
  • Talent Identification is carried out in twenty sports disciplines in the age group of 8 to 14 years, wherein the country has the potential/advantage to excel at the international level.

Talent Search and Development Scheme

  • This is vertical of the Khelo India Scheme.
  • In this Khelo India Athletes identified and selected under the scheme are provided annual financial assistance of Rs. 6.28 lakh per athlete per annum which includes Rs. 1.20 lakh per annum as Out of Pocket Allowance and Rs. 5.081 lakh for other facilities like coaching, sports science support, diet, equipment, consumables, insurance charges, etc.
  • Further, each Khelo India Centre notified under the Scheme at district levels in various States/Union Territories are eligible to receive Rs. 5 lakh per discipline as a one-time grant and Rs. 5 lakh per discipline as a recurring grant.

What is the role of the Sports Authority of India (SAI)?

  • SAI is an autonomous body under the aegis of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.
  • It is implementing the following sports promotional schemes across the country to identify talented sportspersons and nurture them to excel at national and international competitions:
    • (i) National Centres of Excellence (NCOE),
    • (ii) SAI Training Centre (STC),
    • (iii) Extension Centre of STC,
    • (iv) National Sports Talent Contest (NSTC) and its Sub-Schemes – Regular Schools, Indigenous Games and Martial Arts (IGMA) & Akharas.
  • These schemes are very helpful for the talented and upcoming players of rural India.

Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS)

  • Under this, the Government of India provides assistance to India’s top athletes in their preparations for Olympic and Paralympic Games.
  • Selected athletes are supported with funding from the National Sports Development Fund (NSDF). Out of pocket allowance (OPA) is paid Rs. 50,000 per month to Core group athletes.
  • Apart from OPA, the entire expenditure for the training plan submitted by the sportsperson, which is considered and approved by Mission Olympic Cell (MOC) is met under TOPS.
  • TOPS Development Group athletes are receiving an OPA of Rs. 25,000 and customised training support at the National Centre of Excellence (NCOE).
  • Sports Ministry encouraging indigenous games
  • The Sports Ministry is also encouraging indigenous games by supporting them.
  • It has approved the inclusion of four Indigenous Gomes to be a port of Khelo Indio Youth Games 2021.
  • The games include:
    • Gatka(Indian ancient martial art Gatka originates from the State of Punjab and this traditional fighting style of the Nihang Sikh Warriors is used both as self-defence as well as a sport)
    • kalarippayattu(Kalaripayattu has its origin from Kerala and has practitioners all over the world) Thang ta(a Manipuri martial art)
    • Mallakhamba(Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra have been the hotspots of this sport)
    • Yogasana


No doubt the Union Sports Ministry is working hard to establish and improve the sports infrastructure and coaching facilities in rural areas, but we still have a long way to go.

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