New Delhi: Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore on Wednesday launched the revamped ‘Khelo India’ initiative, which earlier focused on infrastructure development but will now look to ensure all-round growth.
The government has approved Rs 1,756 crore for a period of three years for revamping the initiative, launched by the ministry last year by merging three schemes – Rajiv Gandhi Khel Abhiyan, Urban Sports Infrastructure Scheme and National Sports Talent Search Programme. The programme aims to promote 20 universities across the country as hubs of sporting excellence, which would enable talented sportspersons to pursue the dual pathway of education and competitive sports.
Reacting to this new development, Indian cricket captain applauded the effort of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Sports Minister. “‘Khelo india’ a much awaited initiative by our hon’ble PM & Sports Minister. Surely this will catalyse sports in India,” tweeted Kohli.
“A holistic approach has to be taken and there will be a seamless network which will enable a pathway from schools to Olympics,” Rathore, who recently took charge, said after a cabinet meeting. “In the age group of 10 to 18, health and education will be mapped and schools will be graded. Sports facilities will also be mapped with geographical location. Sports and education will be mixed.”
Rathore said very soon, sports-specific mobile apps, equipped with relevant information, will be launched. “The apps will have tips for athletes and information of Indian and international athletes.”
The winner of the silver medal at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games said under the scheme, efforts will be made to upgrade and educate coaches at the community level. Asked about the impending Sports Code and efforts to bring sports in the Concurrent list, Rathore said he was taking a “step by step” approach. Responding to a query if he was satisfied with the standard of coaching in India, he remarked, “best is required, good is not enough”.