How will India become such a sports superpower 62 percent government schools do not have playgrounds in country Khelo India budget also reduced by Rs 232 crore There is no playground in 62% of government schools in the country, the budget of Khelo India also decreased by 232 crores
India has created history in Tokyo. She won a total of 7 medals at the Tokyo Olympics, her best ever. She won the gold medal after 13 years in Tokyo. Seeing all this makes us feel proud of our athletes. Politicians are also busy tying bridges of his praise. However, it is also a fact that India is still miles away from becoming a sports superpower.
The lack of sports infrastructure in the country can be gauged from the fact that 62% of government schools do not have playgrounds. India’s silver medalist in Tokyo, Saikhom Mirabai Chanu hails from Nongpok Kakching, located 30 km from Manipur’s capital Imphal. Most of the schools in Manipur do not have playgrounds. This is the reason why most Olympians from economically weaker households do not have access to high quality training facilities.
Mirabai Chanu is a living example of this gloomy scenario. Not only this, 23-year-old boxer Ritu, who lives in Chandigarh, is also a victim of the same problem. Boxing School National Medalist and Inter School Medalist Ritu has been working as a parking attendant for the past one year, leaving boxing. Ritu had to leave the sport in 2017 due to poor financial condition. She now spends a daily wage of Rs 350 giving receipts for vehicles coming into the parking lot.
Ritu says, I had to quit boxing ever since my father fell ill. It’s tough, but I have no other choice. If I had got support at that time, I would have continued. I could not play in the national organized by Chandigarh State or Boxing Chandigarh and Boxing Federation of India as I did not have coach or proper training facility.
The All India School Education Survey conducted a survey in 2016 on how many school campuses have playgrounds. The survey revealed that only 38% of government schools in the country have playgrounds, i.e. 62%, schools do not have playgrounds. The condition of private or private schools is also not very good. Only 48% of private schools in the country have playgrounds.
In March 2020, a parliamentary committee on education submitted its report. It said that as of 2018, two out of three schools in Odisha did not have playgrounds. Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is sponsoring the men’s and women’s Indian hockey team. Even though he is doing this very good work, but there is a lot of lack of proper sports facilities at the school level in his state.
According to parliamentary reports, southern states tend to do better when it comes to playgrounds in schools. For example, 71% of schools in Tamil Nadu have playgrounds. Since its first Olympic appearance 121 years ago in 1900, India’s medal tally has only reached 35. This includes 10 gold, 9 silver and 16 bronze medals.
The government may be patting its back on the medal winners at the Tokyo Olympics, but the bitter truth is that despite the Olympics being held in 2021, the central government cut the sports budget by 8.16%. In this February, the budgetary allocation for the Games was Rs 2,596.14 crore, which is Rs 230.78 crore less than the earlier.
Sports Authority of India was given a grant of Rs.660.41 crore. This is Rs 500 crore more than the allocation received last year. The budget of Khelo India, the flagship scheme of the Sports Ministry, saw a decrease of Rs 232.71 crore as compared to last year. It was 890.42 crore in the financial year 2019-20, which came down to Rs 657.71 crore in 2020-21.
Simply put, India’s performance in the sports world can be improved to its full potential. For this, first of all, basic facilities like playgrounds have to be provided in schools. Along with this, the investment and budget of sports related schemes will have to be increased. To shine on the world stage, India needs to drastically change its sporting infrastructure.
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