NEW DELHI: The Union cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi Wednesday approved the revamped Khelo India programme at a cost of Rs17.56 billion for the period 2017-18 to 2019-20.
The programme aims at mainstreaming sport as a tool for individual development, community development, economic development and national development, the Sports Ministry stated.
The revamped Khelo India Programme would impact the entire sports ecosystem, including infrastructure, community sports, talent identification, coaching for excellence, competition structure and sports economy.
In a series of tweets, newly appointed Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore highlighted the main agenda of the programme, saying it would be aimed at building a seamless sports ecosystem across the country and across stakeholders. Rs17.56 billion would be invested in 'holistic development' that would include talent identification and development, sports for women, promotion of rural and indigenous games and play field development, among other things.
Addressing the media after the government approved the revamp of the programme launched in 2017, Rathore said the decision to revamp Khelo India has been taken with twin goals: Sports For All and Sports For Excellence.
The Sports Minister also confirmed that each athlete selected under this scheme will receive an annual scholarship worth Rs500,000 for eight consecutive years. The government will provide a scholarship to 1,000 talented youngsters across various sports disciplines. The government aims to promote gender equity and social inclusiveness in sports along with engaging youth living in disturbed and deprived areas, in sporting activities, to wean them away from unproductive and disruptive activities and mainstream them in the nation-building process. 200 million children in the age group of 10 to 18 will undergo a national physical fitness drive.
"Through the Pan India Sports Scholarship, over time, we aim to build robust bench strength for all sports in India," Rathore tweeted.
Some of the salient features of the Programme include:
• an unprecedented Pan Indian Sports Scholarship scheme, which would cover 1,000 most talented young athletes each year across select sports disciplines.
• Each athlete selected under the scheme shall receive an annual scholarship worth Rs. 5.00 lakh for 8 consecutive years.
• This is the first time ever that a long-term athlete development pathway would be made available to gifted and talented youngsters to excel in competitive sports and will create a pool of highly competitive athletes who can compete to win at the world stage.
• The Programme aims to promote 20 universities across the country as hubs of sporting excellence, which would enable talented sports persons to pursue the dual pathway of education and competitive sports.
• The Programme also aims at creating an active population with healthy life-style.
• The Programme would cover about 200 million children in the age group of 10-18 under a massive national physical fitness drive, which will not only measure the physical fitness of all children in the age group, but also support their fitness related activities.
• The power of sport in promoting gender equity and social inclusiveness is also fully recognized and special measures are provided for to achieve these objectives.
• The programme also aims at engaging youth living in disturbed and deprived areas, in sporting activities, to wean them away from unproductive and disruptive activities and mainstream them in the nation-building process.
• The programme strives to raise the standards of competition, both at school and college level, to have maximum access to organized sports competitions.
• It also includes the use of latest user-friendly technology in all aspects of sports promotion such as, use of mobile apps for dissemination of sports training; National Sports Talent Search portal for talent identification; interactive website for indigenous sports; GIS based information system for locating and using sports infrastructure, etc.
• This programme strives to promote “Sports for All” as well as “Sports for Excellence.”