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Schemes for Sports Development in India

Last Updated : 30 Sep, 2022
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The Sports Authority of India is the leading sports organization in the nation. It serves as the driving force behind India’s sporting goals and the creation of the conditions necessary to support both national athletic performance and sports culture; maintaining overall health and way of life requires fitness. Sports are crucial for healthy and happy lives because they significantly exert the body daily. In light of this, the Indian government has ensured that sports are part of every school-age child’s daily schedule. With nearly 65% of the population under 35, India is one of the youngest countries in the world. The population’s youth, who range in age from 15 to 29, make up 27.5% of the total. Through several Ministries and Departments, the Indian government invests significantly in youth-oriented initiatives. The State Governments and various other partners are also trying to promote youth development and encourage healthy physical activity among young people. 

Various Schemes for Sports Development in India:

1. Fit India Movement:

Honorable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi inaugurated this movement on August 29th, 2019. The movement’s goal is to influence people’s behaviors and encourage them to live more physically active lifestyles, to promote fitness as simple, enjoyable, and cost-free. They used a four-year plan to create the ad, which would run on various fitness-related topics yearly. The movement’s first year will be devoted to physical fitness; the second, third, and fourth years will be dedicated to dietary habits, an eco-friendly lifestyle, and disease prevention, respectively. The Fit India Movement seeks to spread a fitness and sports culture throughout the nation. It motivates people to give fitness a high priority in their daily life.

2. Khelo India:

The “Khel Mahakumbh,” which takes place in Gujarat and features participation in 27 different sports by schools and institutions from throughout the nation, served as the inspiration for the Khelo India 2020 program. Khelo India Program was introduced by the Indian Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. The government would train the athletes and their coaches as part of the Khelo India Scheme to improve their performance on the world stage (Olympics). This initiative intends to mainstream sports to advance personal, social, and economic growth and the nation’s advancement.

3. Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS):

Its goal is to find, develop, and prepare future medal contenders for the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Under this program, athletes and sportspeople will receive specialized instruction from renowned coaches at cutting-edge sports facilities and institutions. A similar program called Junior TOPS, which targets kids as young as 10 to 12 years old and aims to create Olympic champions in 2028, was also introduced by the government in 2020.

4. The National Sports Development Fund (NSDF):

The Fund helps athletes succeed by giving them opportunities to train with renowned international coaches, technical, scientific, and psychological support, and exposure to international competitions. The Fund plays a supplemental role in offering financial support for developing infrastructure and other activities to promote sports. 

5. Schemes for the Indian Sports Authority (SAI):

SAI also manages several programs for youth and senior sports promotion. The National Sports Academy (NSA) Scheme, the Center of Excellence Scheme, the National Sports Talent Contest Scheme (NSTC), the Army Boys Sports Company Scheme, the Special Area Games Scheme, and the COME and PLAY Scheme are the programs that the Sports Authority is now putting into action. Locals are encouraged to play sports and games at SAI sports facilities and receive training from SAI Coaches as part of the COME and PLAY Scheme.

6. Mission Olympics 2024:

To assist India in winning 50 medals in the 2024 summer Olympics, NITI Aayog has developed a short- and medium-term action plan. On this, six new foreign athletics coaches are expected to help India’s Olympic preparation. It envisions focusing on priority sports and dividing athletes into three groups for each discipline. It aims to maximize the potential of local and indigenous sports by choosing top-tier coaches and implementing a coach grading system.

7. Scheme for National Sports Awards:

The Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, Arjuna Awards, Dhyanchand Awards, and Dronacharya Awards are given out annually by the government to recognize and honor sports figures for their accomplishments and efforts as athletes and coaches. The National Sports Awards, a collection of six separate awards awarded to athletes, coaches, or organizations for their achievements and contributions to the development of Indian sports, are regarded as the highest athletic honors in India.

8. Scheme for Sports & Games for People with Disabilities:

Under this program, athletes with disabilities receive specialized training in their sport to manage sporting events and support institutions and schools with athletes with disabilities. The Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports launched the “Scheme of Sports & Games for the Disabled” as a Central Sector Scheme in 2009–201. It was a part of the XI Plan Period. The scheme’s primary goal is to get as many disabled people involved in sports as possible.

9. Portal for Sports Talent Search:

To identify the top potential among India’s young, Ex Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu established the Sports Talent Search Portal in August 2017. Young people can upload their accomplishments through the platform. Shortlisted individuals are invited to trials, and those who pass can participate in the Sports Authority of India’s program.

10. Rajiv Gandhi Khel Abhiyan:

The Rajiv Gandhi Khel Abhiyan is a federally funded program that debuted on February 21st, 2014. It has been introduced in place of the previous Rajiv Gandhi Khel Abhiyan and Panchayat Yuva Krida, both of which fall under this new initiative. The plan aims to achieve several goals by building a specialized block for sports complexes, whether they are held indoors or outdoors. The program will make approximately six to seven acres of land available to the organizations at the cost of 1.6 crores for indoor and outdoor sports. The outdoor sports discipline will receive 80 lakh INR of the total 1.6 crore INR, and the indoor sports discipline will receive the remaining 80 lac INR.

11. National Centre of Sports Sciences and Research (NCSSR):

The National Center for Sports Sciences and Research’s (NCSSR) program is to promote the highly calibrated study, instruction, and innovation with regard to top athletes’ high levels of performance. The program strives to encourage top-notch research, education, and innovation in relation to elite athletes’ high levels of performance. The scheme focuses on sports sciences and sports medicine through the development of/support for the institutional mechanism to achieve this goal.

Achievements of India in Sports:

  • India collected 61 medals, including 22 gold ones, to place fourth at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. Given that their specialty—shooting—was not included in the quadrennial competition, this was among the better achievements by Indian athletes.
  • The nation has been taking home more medals from international competitions. At the Tokyo Olympics 2020, India took home seven medals, including one gold, two silver, and four bronze. The nation was considered a medal contender in several sports.
  • In contrast to the previous several decades, when the nation used to do poorly on the world stage, it is a significant improvement.
  • Government backing for the sport has grown, and that must be acknowledged. To promote India’s sports industry, the government has started several projects.
  • The sport now has more private sector participation. Additionally, expanding private academies involved in sports development at different levels is strengthening the resources accessible to our athletes.
  • Businesses have stepped up to sponsor talented athletes individually, displaying a level of previously lacking dedication.

Challenges of India in Sports:

  1. Unclear Separation of Duties and Rights: Within Indian sport, currently, there is minimal separation between management and governance. The executive committee, supposedly in charge of administration, frequently finds itself managing many Indian athletic organizations. Under the guise of autonomy, they have been permitted to operate without limits.
  2. Transparency and Accountability Issues: The existing sports model has accountability problems due to unrestricted discretionary authority and lack of decision-making transparency with inconsistent revenue management. For instance, a study from the Central Vigilance Commission, which was published in July 2010, revealed that 14 Commonwealth Games projects held in India had irregularities. The Delhi Police detained three cricketers on suspicion of spot-fixing in the 2013 Indian Premier League, which gave rise to the spot-fixing and betting case.
  3. Lack of Professionalization: Many Indian sports organizations, especially the governing bodies, have not changed their organizational structures to address the problems of a professionalized and commercialized industry. Instead of recruiting qualified personnel to meet the growing workload, these groups continue to rely on volunteers to run the organization.
  4. Drugs that Enhance Performance: In the world of sports, the use of performance-enhancing substances continues to be a severe issue. Despite establishing the National Anti-Doping Agency, this issue must be successfully addressed.
  5. Religious Obstacles: Some sports, including swimming and athletics, call for clothing that partially exposes a woman’s body and violates the morals of some religions.
  6. Lack of Sports Culture: There isn’t a strong sports culture in India where people actively support and watch sports. However, cricket is the sport that inspires the most enthusiasm, which helps it draw investment and pay its players well.


Today, sport is becoming a significant factor in a nation’s socioeconomic development. India will need to invest substantially in developing a cutting-edge infrastructure that incorporates best global practices in sports training, sports medicine, research, and analysis throughout the sports institutions, giving adequate attention to all major sports to become a leading sports nation. The functions of the sports authorities will not be effective in the absence of robust law. Additionally, there may be total political interference, readily prevented by well-written law that eliminates anomalies. The shift must start in primary education to create a sporting culture in the nation. Sports should be given equal weightage in a child’s overall upbringing, and the educational system should be changed to reflect this. The government must recognize that Indian athletes face more challenges from their environment than from their adversaries in sports. To make the vision of “Sports for All” a reality, they need to be provided with a nurturing environment.

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