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Perspective: Five Years of Khelo India

  • 01 Jun 2023
  • 14 min read

For Prelims: Khelo India Scheme, Khelo India School and Youth Games, Khelo India University Games, Khelo India Winter Games and Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS)

For Mains: Highlights of the Khleo India Scheme, The Measures Needed to Make India a Sporting Nation.

Why in News?

On the completion of five years of Khelo India, the Prime Minister recognizes the significant contribution of the initiative in fostering and nurturing sporting talent, aiming to create an optimal environment for the growth of sports in India.

What is Khelo India Programme?

  • Background:
    • India has the largest youth population in the world, with approximately 65% of its population being under the age of 35.
    • The youth, aged between 15-29 years, make up 27.5% of the population and represent a dynamic and vibrant segment.
    • To encourage mass participation in sports and ensure effective implementation, the existing schemes of Rajiv Gandhi Khel Abhiyan (RGKA), Urban Sports Infrastructure Scheme (USIS), and National Sports Talent Search Scheme (NSTSS) were proposed to be merged into a single scheme called “Khelo India: National Programme for Development of Sports.
  • About:
    • Khelo India is a scheme envisioned by Prime Minister Modi in 2017-18 to give a platform to grassroots athletes and build sports infrastructure across India, resulting in turning India into a sporting nation.
    • The Khelo India Scheme is the flagship Central Sector Scheme of the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports.
    • With a view to achieving the twin objectives of mass participation and promotion of excellence in sports, the Government has decided to continue the Scheme of “Khelo India – National Programme for Development of Sports” over the 15th Finance Commission Cycle (2021-22 to 2025-26) at an outlay of Rs 3165.50 crore.

Competitions Under Khelo India

Under this movement, the Khelo India Youth Games (KIYG), the Khelo India University Games (KIUG) and the Khelo India Winter Games were set up as annual national sports competitions where youngsters, representing their states and universities, respectively, showcased their skills and competed for medals.

What are the Components of the Programme

  • It has been divided into 12 verticals:
    • State Level Khelo India Centres
    • Annual Sports Competition
    • Talent Search and Development
    • Utilization and Creation/Upgradation of Sports
    • Support to National/ Regional/State Sports Academics
    • Physical fitness of school children
    • Sports for Women
    • Promotion of Sports amongst people with disabilities
    • Sports for Peace and Development
    • Promotion of rural and indigenous/ tribal games
  • The components of the Scheme have been rearranged and rationalized by merging/subsuming some of the similar components with the larger ones, thus condensing the twelve existing components into following five components:
    • Creation and Upgradation of Sports Infrastructure
    • Sports Competitions and Talent Development
    • Khelo India Centres and Sports Academies
    • Fit India Movement
    • Promotion of Inclusiveness through Sports
  • Khelo India Winter Games have been included under the ‘Sports Competitions and Talent Development’ component. The Fit India Movement has been introduced as a separate and dedicated component.

What are the Achievements of the Programme?

  • Various Events Organized Under the Scheme: From 2017 to 2021, three editions of Khelo India School and Youth Games, one edition of KIUG and two editions of Khelo India Winter Games have been hosted, giving talented young sportspersons a chance to win their way to a Khelo India Scholarship and be trained for higher levels of competition by the best coaches and in state-of-the-art sporting complexes.
  • Mass Participation of Athletes: The Games have seen a participation of over 20,000 athletes, with close to 3,000 athletes identified as Khelo India Athletes (KIAs) who are currently training at Khelo India Academies, revamped Sports Authority of India (SAI) Centers, and are given an Out-of-Pocket Allowance of ₹10,000 per month, besides being supported for training, equipment, diet and education.
  • Infrastructure Upgradation and Fund: Grants-in-aid have also been given for construction as well as upgradation of sports infrastructure projects under the “Utilization and Creation/Upgradation of Sports Infrastructure” vertical of the Khelo India Scheme.
    • Fund is allocated and released scheme wise and not state or sport wise.
  • Creating Elite Sportspersons: There are several Khelo India athletes who have been inducted in the elite Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) over the years based on their performance and are today making the country proud in multiple international competitions.
  • Financial Assistance to Players: Talented players identified in priority sports disciplines at various levels by the High-Powered Committee will be provided annual financial assistance of INR 5 lakh per annum for 8 years.
  • Spillover Effect/Psychological Effect: The programme has impacted Sports Authorities and schools in India through annual National Sports competitions and support for Sports training facilities.
  • Promotion to Indigenous Sports: Khelo India initiative focuses on promoting indigenous sports in every district of India. Some of them are Gatka, Kalaripayattu, Thang-Ta, and Mallakhamba.
  • Promotion to Traditional Sports: Traditional games are becoming more popular, with many people taking them up and coaches and gurus emerging to support them, offering the potential for them to become global like yogasana.
  • Inculcating Sense of Fitness in the Country: Fit India movement is an essential aspect of Kelo India, which focuses on promoting fitness among the masses. This includes the Fit India mobile app, which helps individuals track their fitness goals, provides dietary guidance and promotes a healthy lifestyle.
  • Special Focus on the Girl’s Participation in Games: Khelo India games are being held throughout the year with a special focus on girl athlete more than 1.25 lakh girls have participated in these leagues to ensure Sports infrastructure availability in remote corners of India.

What are the Challenges in the Realisation of Full Potential of the Programme?

  • Lack of Supporting Infrastructure: Many schools, colleges and universities do not have adequate facilities for sports such as playgrounds, equipment, coaches and trainers. This limits the participation and performance of young athletes.
  • Absence of Encouragement to Young People: Many parents, teachers and society do not value sports as a career option or a means of holistic development. They often discourage children from pursuing sports and prefer academic excellence.
  • Lack of an Organised System: The process of identifying and nurturing talented sportspersons is complex and lengthy. It involves multiple stages of trials, assessments and selections by different agencies. There is a risk of favoritism, regionalism and corruption in the selection process.
  • Gender Bias Against Girls: Girls face many social and cultural barriers to participate in sports such as safety issues, lack of mobility, lack of family support, lack of role models and stereotypes.
  • Lack of Remuneration and Job Security: Many sportspersons do not get adequate financial support or incentives to pursue their careers in sports. They also face uncertainty and insecurity about their future prospects after retirement from sports.
  • Administrative Issues in Absence of Codified Rules: The implementation of the scheme is hampered by various administrative bottlenecks such as delays in fund release, lack of coordination among stakeholders, lack of monitoring and evaluation mechanisms, lack of accountability and grievance redressal mechanisms.
    • The absence of an Internal Complaint Committee at various sporting bodies sometimes raises questions about the security of female athletes from sexual abuse.

What can be the Way Forward?

  • Creation and Upgradation of Sports Infrastructure: The government should invest more in creating and upgrading sports infrastructure across the country, especially in rural areas, tribal areas, northeastern states and aspirational districts.
  • Public-Private Partnership: The government should also leverage public-private partnerships, corporate social responsibility funds and convergence with other schemes such as Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) to augment sports infrastructure.
  • Sports Competitions and Talent Development: The government should organise more sports competitions at various levels such as school, district, state and national level to provide exposure and opportunities to young athletes.
  • Khelo India Centres and Sports Academies: The government should establish more Khelo India Centres and Sports Academies across the country to provide quality coaching, training, equipment, nutrition, medical support and scholarships to talented sportspersons.
  • Fit India Movement: The government should promote the Fit India Movement as a mass campaign to create awareness and encourage physical activity and fitness among all sections of society.
  • Promotion of Inclusiveness Through Sports: The government should ensure that sports are accessible and affordable to all sections of society, especially girls, women, persons with disabilities, minorities and marginalised groups.
    • The government should also provide special incentives, reservations, quotas and awards to encourage participation and excellence among these groups.

UPSC Civil Services Examination Previous Year Question (PYQ):

Q1. Consider the following pairs with regard to sports awards: (2023)

  1. Major Dhyan Chand: For the most spectacular Khel Ratna Award and outstanding performance by a sportsperson over period of last four years
  2. Arjuna Award: For the lifetime achievement by sportsperson
  3. Dronacharya Award: To honour eminent coaches who have successfully trained sportspersons or teams
  4. Rashtriya Khel: To recognize the Protsahan Puraskar contribution made by sportspersons even after their retirement

How many of the above pairs are correctly matched?

(a) Only one
(b) Only two
(c) Only three
(d) All four

Ans: (d)

Q2. Consider the following statements in respect of the 44th Chess Olympiad, 2022: (2023)

  1. It was the first time that Chess Olympiad was held in India.
  2. The official mascot was named ‘Thambi’.
  3. The trophy for the winning team in the open section is the Vera Menchik Cup.
  4. The trophy for the winning team in the women's section is the Hamilton-Russell Cup.

How many of the statements given above are correct?

(a) Only one
(b) Only two 
(c) Only three 
(d) All four

Ans: (c)

Q3. Consider the following statements in respect of the 32nd Summer Olympics: (2021)

  1. The official motto for this Olympics is ‘A New World’.
  2. Sport Climbing, Surfing, Skateboarding, Karate and Baseball are included in this Olympics.

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Ans: (b)

Q4. Consider the following statements in respect of the Laureus World Sports Award which was instituted in the year 2000: (2021)

  1. American golfer Tiger Woods was the first winner of this award.
  2. The award was received mostly by ‘Formula One’ players so far.
  3. Roger Federer received this award maximum number of times compared to others.

Which of the above statements are correct?

(a) 1 and 2 only
(b) 2 and 3 only 
(c) 1 and 3 only 
(d) 1, 2 and 3

Ans: C

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