Achievements and initiatives of department of sports, India, during 2015

New Delhi: As 2015 is nearing its end, here are the achievements and initiatives of the department of sports during 2015.

1. Rajiv Gandhi Khel Abhiyan (RGKA): Under this centrally sponsored scheme, annual Sports Competitions were conducted in 29 States/UTs in the year 2014-15 and a sum of Rs. 83.84 crore was released to these States for holding such competitions. A total number of 29.08 lakh athletes participated in the sports competitions at various levels. The participants were youth and from rural areas. Competitions were held from Block level onwards.

Extensive consultations have been held with State Governments to make the Scheme more effective.

2. National Sports Talent Search Scheme (NSTSS): A new Scheme National Sports Talent Search Scheme (NSTSS) has been formulated for (i) identification of sporting talent among students in the age group of 8–12 years (for admission in Class IV to Class VI) who possess inborn qualities such as anthropometric, physical and physiological capabilities without any anatomical infirmities; and (ii) nurturing of the Sporting Potential / talent in District level Sports schools / Central Sports Schools / National Sports Academies etc., to make them excel at the National and international sports competitions. This will help broaden the pool of Sportspersons in the Country.

3. Himalayan Region Sports Festival (HRSF): The Department of Sports has formulated Himalayan Region Sports Festival (HRSF) for promoting unique sports traditions in the Himalyan Region, which includes Nepal and Bhutan and Indian states such as J&K, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim and the North Eastern States.
In the sports competitions to be conducted under HRSF, all the North Eastern States, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Uttrakhand and the neighboring countries such as Nepal and Bhutan will participate. These competitions will promote various indigenous games as also team spirit between the hilly states of the country and regional cooperation in the area of sports with neighboring countries.

4. Special Package for Development of Sports Infrastructure of Jammu and Kashmir: A special package for development of sports in Jammu & Kashmir was announced by Prime Minister with a total assistance of Rs. 200 crores for enhancement of sports facilities in J & K. The works to be executed under the special package have been finalized in consultation with the State Government of J&K. Stadiums at Jammu and Srinagar will be brought to international standard with funding of Rs. 84 crore. Besides that, up-gradation of existing stadia at Poonch and Rajouri and construction of multipurpose indoor hall in 12 districts/locations will be carried out to cater to climate of the State with prolonged winter season. Estimated cost for these works has been worked out to Rs. 52 crore. For taking up these works, Rs. 6.00 crore have been earmarked for development of infrastructure for Water Sports Activities in Pahalgam and Mansar Lake. Rs. 2.63 crore have been earmarked for lighting system in artificial football ground at TRC Srinagar and Gani Memorial Stadium, Srinagar. Rs. 55 crore have been earmarked for sports equipments, coaches, trainers, furniture, competitions etc.

This will provide opportunity to the youth of the State for engaging in sporting activities and help in weaning them away from militancy.

5. National Sports University at Manipur: The proposal for setting up of National Sports University in Manipur was formally announced in the Budget 2014-15.

The Government of Manipur has transferred 336.93 acres of land in Thoubal district of Manipur to the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports for the proposed University. Hindustan Steelworks Construction Limited (HSCL) a Central Public Sector Undertaking, has been selected as Project Management Consultant for setting up the proposed University. The National Sports University Bill, 2015, is under finalization with the Ministry of Law and Justice.

Setting up of National Sports University in Manipur will result in giving an opportunity to the youth of country in general and of North Eastern States in particular for pursuing courses such as B.P.Ed, M.P.Ed, Diploma / certificate courses in coaching, physiotherapy, fitness, sports management, sports journalism, etc. It would also churn out sportspersons of abilities both at the grass-roots as well as international levels and also promote sports-industry-related products like sports goods and medicines.

6. Indian Institute of Sports Science and Research (IISSR): Decision has been taken to set up an Indian Institute of Sports Science and Research (IISSR) with a view to integrating the study, research and practice of Sports Science and Sports Medicine to achieve excellence in Sports.

The proposed institute would be involved in research work, extension support services, certification of neutraceuticals and coordination between faculty of sports science and sports medicine within India and abroad. Along with this, a scheme has also been evolved for funding of eligible reputed Universities/ Institutes/ Medical Colleges for setting up/ augmenting of Departments of Sports Science and Sports Medicine. It is proposed to fund six (6) Universities and Six (6) Institutes/ Medical Colleges in a phased manner.

Indian Institute of Sports Science and Research (IISSR) would be the first dedicated institute in the country for research in different Branches of Sports Science and Sports Medicine. Applicability of such research would improve India’s Sports capabilities. It would also take up testing of nutritional supplements for sportspersons through its Quality Assurance Department. Further, it would develop the necessary scientific and skilled human resource which would be vital for identification and nurturing sports talent. The foregoing activities, in turn, would promote industry-related products like sports goods, nutritional items etc. which would be beneficial to the economy in general.

7. Target Olympic Podium (TOP) Scheme and Preparations for Rio Olympics 2016: A programme, namely TOP (Target Olympic Podium) Scheme has been formulated within the overall ambit of National Sports Development Fund (NSDF) with the objective of identifying and supporting potential medal prospects for 2016 and 2020 Olympic Games. Focused disciplines are Athletics, Archery, Badminton, Boxing, Wrestling, Weightlifting and Shooting. The selected athletes are being provided financial assistance for their customized training at Institutes having world class facilities and other necessary support. Benchmark for selection of athletes under the scheme is in relation to international standards.

106 athletes have been identified so far for funding under TOP scheme.

Customized training at Institutes having world class facilities and other necessary support is being provided to the elite athletes, which is expected to result in improved performance and a higher position in medals tally for the country.

Further, National coaching camps are being organized and competitive exposure abroad is being provided to the identified proables as per Annual Calendar of Training & Competitions (ACTCs) finalized in consultation with National Sports Federations (NSFs) and funds are being provided from the Scheme of Assistance to NSFs for which budgetary allocation of Rs. 185 crore has been made during current financial year 2015-16.

8. MoU with India Infrastructure Finance Company Limited (IIFCL) for supporting Badminton sport: The Department of Sports and India Infrastructure Finance Company Limited (IIFCL), a company under Ministry of Finance have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) for supporting Badminton sport. Under the MOU, IIFCL shall contribute Rs. 30 Crore (Rs. 10 crore each year for 3 years) to the Target Olympic Podium (TOP) Scheme within ambit of National Sports Development Fund (NSDF) under its initiatives for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). IIFCL contributed Rs. 10 Crore to NSDF for the 1st year on 31.3.2015.

9. Hosting of 12th South Asian Games by India: South Asian Games (SAG) are a bi-annual multi-sport event held among the athletes from South Asia. At present, SAG are joined by eight members namely, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The aim of the Games is to promote friendship and goodwill among the people of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries. After the 11th SAG were held in Dhaka (Bangladesh) in 2010, it was the turn of Bhutan to host the next edition of the Games. Since Bhutan expressed its inability to host the Games, the Executive Committee of the South Asian Olympic Council decided to allot the 12th edition of the Games to India, being next in the alphabetical order.

12th South Asian Games could not be held in 2012, as earlier planned. After deliberations and consultations among the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Indian Olympic Association, Government of Assam and Government of Meghalaya, it has been decided that the 12th SAG may be held in Guwahati and Shillong. 12th South Asian Games are scheduled to be held at Guwahati and Shillong from 6-16 February 2016

The South Asian Games will see participation of over 3000 athletes in 23 sports disciplines which include Archery, Athletics, Badminton, Basketball, Boxing, Cycling, Football, Handball, Hockey, Judo, Kabaddi, Kho Kho, Shooting, Swimming, Squash, Table Tennis, Taekwondo, Triathlon, Volleyball, Weightlifting, Wrestling and Wushu.

On 13th December 2015 in a colourful function at Guwahati, Mascot and Logo of the Games were launched jointly by Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Youth Affairs and Sports Shri SarbanandaSonowal, Chief Minister of Assam Shri TarunGogoi and Sports Minister of Meghalaya Shri S. Sangma.
10. Enhancement in various facilities for athletes: The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports has on 30th June 2015 enhanced the diet and supplement charges of the athletes as per the following rates:
I. Diet Charges –
Upto Rs.650/- per day per athlete for Senior sportspersons
Upto Rs.450/- per day per athlete for Junior/Sub-junior sportspersons
II. Supplement Charges –
Upto Rs.700/- per day per athlete for heavy & middle weight power events
Upto Rs.400/- per day per athlete for endurance, team, sprints and low weight power events
Upto Rs.300/- per day per athlete for skill events

11. Creation of Regional Sports Federations and their recognition: With a view to promoting and giving due acknowledgement and importance to sports having regional spread, the Ministry has decided to consider granting recognition to sports federations of certain indigenous sports disciplines as Regional Sports Federations (RSFs) subject to certain conditions such as, the sports disciplines must be popular in a region/state and played in one or more states; the sports should have been played in the region for at least last 10 years; the RSFs seeking recognition from the Govt. should have conducted championships in all the categories namely Senior, Junior & Sub-Junior. There shall be only one RSF for each sport; Federations of only indigenous sports will be considered for recognition as RSFs; and in case there is an international body for a sport discipline, the recognition of the said body would be necessary.

12. Issue of Guidelines for providing Sports Infrastructure/Facilities to Players and Officials during the National Championships and International Tournaments held in India: In the wake of complaints of poor management in conduct of National Para Athletics Championships 2015, the Ministry issued guidelines to all recognized National Sports Federations on 23rd April 2015 for providing and making arrangements for requisite facilities relating to playing arena, its accessibility, neat and clean toilets, provision for drinking water, proper resting place, separate changing rooms for boys and girls, neat and clean lodging facilities, adequately equipped with toilets including disabled friendly toilets, proper transportation facilities for players and officials from the place of stay to the venue of championship etc.

13. Visit of delegation of International Olympic Committee: A delegation of International Olympic Committee (IOC) led by Shri Thomas Bach, President, visited India on 27th April 2015 for a meeting with Prime Minister to discuss PM’s Vision for Development of Sports in India.

A Mémorandum of Understanding (MOU) wasalsosignedbetween International OlympicCommittee, IndianOlympic Association and the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports, which aims at contributing to the development of sport in India by providing an overall framework of collaboration between the Parties, within their respective mandates, rules and procedures, to promote additional initiatives to complement the opportunities already made available by the IOC through its existing development programmes.

14. Categorization of Sports disciplines to make them eligible for assistance based on their performance: The Department of Sports reviewed the categorization of sports disciplines on 23rd Mach 2015 with a view to rendering assistance from the Government. A new category of ‘high priority’ has been created while retaining the earlier three categories viz., ‘priority’, ‘general’ and ‘others’. In the ‘High Priority’ category, the sports disciplines played in the Olympic Games and in which India have won medals in last conducted Asian Games as well as CWG or in which India has good chance of winning medals in Olympics have been included. At present, 9 sports disciplines viz., athletics, archery, badminton, boxing, hockey, shooting, tennis, weightlifting and wrestling have been included. Focused attention will be provided to High Priority disciplines.

15. Formulation of selection criteria for sportspersons/teams for participation in international sports events: The Department of Sports has formulated the selection criteria for sportspersons/teams for participation in international sports events and circulated the same to Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and National Sports Federations (NSFs) on 10th March 2015. It has been decided that for participation in multi-disciplinary sports events such as Olympic Games, Winter Olympics, Asian Games, Commonwealth Games, Asian Indoor Games, Asian Beach Games, Youth Olympics, Asian Youth Games, Commonwealth Youth Games, Paralympics and Para-Asian Games, the performance of the sportspersons, in the individual events during the last twelve months prior to commencement of the event should not be less than the performance achieved by the 6th position holder of the previous edition of the respective tournament in measurable sports and for team events, only those teams which have achieved ranking upto 8th among participating countries of the concerned tournaments in the last one year should be considered for participation in the respective tournaments. In non-measurable individual sports, the sportspersons must have achieved 6th rank in the last 12 months.

It has also been decided that only the sportspersons, coaches and support staff approved by the Ministry and Sports Authority of India (SAI) will be part of the contingent for the events cleared at cost to the government and no additional sportspersons, coach and support staff will be included even at no cost to government in such sports competitions.

16. Revision of National Sports Awards Schemes: The Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports revised the Schemes of Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, Arjuna Award, Dhyan Chand Award and Dronacharya Awards.

In the revised Schemes, following major amendments have been made:

(i) Selection Committee for Arjuna Award will be headed by Retired Judge of Supreme Court/High Court.
(ii) A sportsperson of eminence/sports administrator/sports expert belonging to para sports will be member in Selection Committee for Arjuna Awards.
(iii) Not more than one sportsperson of eminence/coach from a particular sports discipline shall be a member of the Selection Committee to avoid any bias in favour of a particular discipline.
(iv) Nomination agencies are expected to send nominations of most deserving sportsperson(s)/coach(es) irrespective of whether sportspersons/coaches have applied to them for awards.

17. Information to be hosted mandatorily by IOA & NSFs on their website: The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports has asked Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and the National Sports Federations (NSFs) to suo-moto disclose various activities carried out by them on their websites mandatorily. Further, the website must be updated by IOA & NSFs as frequently as possible and at least once in a fortnight.
They also have been asked to post their audited accounts and the Balance Sheet of the previous year by 30th June of the current year. It has also been stipulated that annual accounts of the previous financial year should be posted by the IOA & NSFs during the current year as soon as it is finalised but latest by 31st December of the current year.

18. Revision of the Scheme of Special Awards to Medal Winners in International Sports Events and their Coaches: The Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports revised the Scheme of Special Awards to medal winners in international events and their coaches in January 2015. In the revised scheme, the amount of award money have been enhanced. The amount of award money for medal winners in Olympic Games (summer and winter) has been enhanced from existing Rs. 50 lakh (gold medal), Rs. 30 lakh (silver medal) and Rs. 20 lakh (bronze medal) to Rs. 75 lakh, Rs. 50 lakh and Rs. 30 lakh respectively. The amount of award money for medal winners in Asian Games and Commonwealth Games has been enhanced from existing Rs. 20 lakh (gold medal), Rs. 10 lakh (silver medal) and Rs. 6 lakh (bronze medal) to Rs. 30 lakh, Rs. 20 lakh and Rs. 10 lakh respectively. In the category of the World Championships, Asian Championships and Commonwealth Championships, three separate categories of award money have been provided depending on whether the championships is held once in four years, once in two years or held annually.

Amount of award money for medalists of Paralympic Games (summer & winter), Para-Asian Games and Commonwealth Games (Para-Athletes) have been fixed at par with medalists of Olympic Games, Asian Games and Commonwealth Games.

IBSA World Championship of Blind, Deaflympics and Special Olympics (summer & winter) have been included in the revised scheme of special awards.

19. Successful conduct of 35th National Games, Kerala: 35th National Games were successfully organized from 31st January to 14th February, 2015 in Kerala. Sports competitions in 34 sports disciplines and 2 demo events were held at 25 venues and at temporary overlays spread across 7 Districts of Kerala viz., Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Alappuzha, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Kozhikkode and Kannur. For 35th National Games, the Government of India has given grant of Rs. 121 crore to the Government of Kerala in the form of Additional Central Assistance for creation/upgradation of sports infrastructure.
20. India’s commendable performance at Special World Olympics 2015, Los Angeles: Indian sportspersons put up commendable performance at Special World Olympics 2015 held at Los Angeles (USA) from 25th July to 2nd August 2015 by winning 173 medals (47 gold, 54 silver and 72 bronze). India finished 3rd in medals tally behind only USA and China.

The Ministry cleared participation of the Indian contingent at cost to the Government in Special World Olympics 2015. Indian contingent comprised of 275 persons, which included 214 sportspersons, 53 coaches, 3 psychologists and 5 contingent officials.

21. Categorization of sports disciplines and recognition of ‘Yoga’ as a sports discipline: The categorization of various Sports disciplines was reviewed and the revised categories of sports disciplines and the scale of financial assistance admissible to each category under the Scheme of Assistance to National Sports Federations (NSFs) was conveyed to Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and all recognized NSFs.
Based on the past performance in major international events, it has been decided to upgrade the sport of Fencing from ‘Others’ to ‘General’ category. It has been decided to place ‘University Sports’ in the ‘Priority’ category.It has further been decided to recognize ‘Yoga’ as a sports discipline and to place it in the ‘Priority’ category.

22. Working Group Constituted for Re-drafting of the National Sports Development Code of India:
Transparency and good governance in the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and in various sports federations of the country is of paramount importance for development of sports in India. For this purpose, the Government had issued various instructions from time to time and several initiatives were taken. All the orders/notifications/instructions/circulars issued till 2001 were amalgamated with necessary modifications, into one comprehensive Code titled National Sports Development Code of India (NSDCI), 2011 which came into force with immediate effect from 31-01-2011.

Since then a lot of developments have taken place in sports sector necessitating more accountability and transparency in the functioning of the sports bodies. Hence, further amendments to the various provisions of NSDCI need to be re-examined and bring about suitable amendments to relevant provisions of the NSDCI.

To facilitate holding of consultations and prepare a revised draft of the NSDCI, the Ministry has constituted a Working Group under chairmanship of Hon’ble Justice C.K. Mahajan (Retd.).

The Working Group will examine existing NSDCI from both sports governance and legal angles and fine-tune/revise the same with the purpose of making it more precise and succinct, make specific recommendations on preparation of Electoral College and streamlining of State/District bodies and make any other recommendations, as deemed fit.

23. Revision of scale of assistance to Sportspersons and National Sports Federations: With a view to give a boost to the preparation of Indian athletes for Rio Olympics, 2016 and enhancing the medal hopes of the country, the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports has made upward revision of various financial parameters under the Scheme of Assistance to National Sports Federations on 27thOctober 2015.

As per the revised norms, the amount for holding National Championships has been revised from Rs.2.lakhs for seniors, juniors and sub-juniors to Rs.5 lakhs for seniors, Rs.7 lakhs for juniors and Rs.10 lakhs for sub-juniors. This will help catch sporting talent young.

To promote traditional tournaments, a new provision of assistance of up to Rs. 5 lakh each for such events has been made. Such tournaments will be identified by a Committee of experts. Assistance of Rs. 25 lakh will be available for holding prestigious tournaments in India. This will help improve the quality of tournaments.

Senior players and coaches will be allowed to travel by air in economy class for a distance beyond 500 kms. Similarly, junior players will be allowed to travel by air in economy class for a distance beyond 1200 kms. Sub-junior players will be allowed to travel by AC III tier. Earlier, air travel was not admissible and senior players were travelling by AC II tier and junior and sub-junior players were travelling by sleeper class for domestic competitions. This will make participation by athletes less stressful and convenient.

Air travel has been allowed for coaching camps and competitions held in the North-East Region. Similarly, the athletes from the North-East Region will be allowed air travel from their residence/coaching camps to and from Kolkata.

Medical insurance policy of Rs.5 lakhs and Personal Accident Policy of Rs.25 lakhs for athletes has been allowed.

For international events held in India, the quantum of financial assistance has been enhanced from Rs.10 lakhs to Rs.30 lakhs per tournament. The assistance can be utilized for boarding, lodging, transportation, rent of playfields, cost of consumable equipment, certificates, medals, awards and prize money. Prior to the revision, there was no provision of assistance for prize money.

The salary of various support personnel like doctors, physiotherapists, psychologists, masseurs, etc. has also been substantially hiked to attract highly skilled personnel to assist the athletes.

High Performance Specialist Coaches with a remuneration up to Rs. 2 lakh per month can be engaged by SAI/NSFs for sports disciplines included in mega events.

The salary of Chief Coach has been enhanced by three times from Rs.50,000 to Rs.1,50,000 per month. Higher salary will also be allowed in specific deserving cases. The salary of other coaches has also been enhanced from Rs.30, 000 to Rs.75, 000 per month. This will incentivise good coaches.

NSFs have been allowed to procure equipment upto Rs.10 lakh. Above that amount, the procurement will be done by Sports Authority of India (SAI).

Evaluation of athletes’ performance from Sports Science point of view has been allowed. An amount of Rs.1500/- per athlete per international participation (if camp is not held before competition) for undergoing evaluation from Sports Science and Medical Fitness point of view will be paid by the Government.