Agenda for India: Sports presents “Agenda for India”. Series editor is Charu Bahri.

Challenges & Solutions

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According to Noor Mohammad, Director, Physical Education, Jamia Millia Islamia, “The government must look into improving and expanding the sporting infrastructure at the college and university level. At present, as institutions have to rely on their own resources, the infrastructure offered is very basic. The government should offer grants for this purpose.”

“Sporting infrastructure must also be available across city and town limits so that it is within the easy reach of students. Otherwise, only economically privileged children will be able to access these facilities, at clubs or complexes that have high membership fees.”

“Sports infrastructure should also be developed across rural India. It is only when a conscientious effort is made to reach out to rural India that the masses will take up sports, and selectors will have a strong national base of talent and skill to choose from.”

“In India, the majority of parents look towards their children as their future protection. That is why they are anxious for their children to study and get a good job. Sports are considered a risky line, because so many sports persons do not make it to the higher levels. And when they fail to make it to national teams, or if they are injured while playing early in their sporting career, they have no job security or government support to fall back upon. This is why only children of higher income groups seriously take up sports. Their parents can back them all the way, and have running businesses that their children can take over after their sporting career fades. This is why it is very important for the government to offer sportspersons some financial incentives and job security.”

“College and university admission guidelines should also provide for a sports quota, so that outstanding players can concentrate on their game. The allotment of these seats must be transparent. At present, the Jamia Millia Islamia is the only Indian university to have a sports quota.”

“The sole authority in charge of major sporting events at the university level is the Association of Indian Universities. Since the AIU, does not have the financial means to support the organization of these events, it has to heavily depend upon few universities having infrastructure and resources to host inter- university tournaments. As a result, rotation in organizing these events becomes difficult and fails to develop interest an infrastructure among other universities. If the government could financially support important national sporting events at a university level, this could possibly be taken care of.”

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