News Editorials (July 28, 2022)


For the preliminaries: Commonwealth Games, National Sports Development Code of India 2011, Indian Olympic Association, National Anti-Doping Agency, Fit India Movement, Khelo India, National Sports Award Scheme.

For the sector: Current model of sports governance in India, issues associated with sports governance in India, government initiatives to promote sports culture in India.

The 21st Commonwealth Games edition starts with the opening ceremony in the host city of Birmingham, United Kingdom. India leads the way as a strong contingent.

Given India’s economy and the country young demographicsthe story of Sports in India is undergoing transformation. But the growing interest of sport in India has do not necessarily translate into better performance across the sports sector as a whole, except some sports like cricket and shooting.

There is a high level of complexity in the Indian sports sector as various organizations (for example, governing bodies, private companies, non-profit foundations, etc.) are responsible for the delivery and management of sport in India. Ultimately, the size and complexity of the sector is an important contributor to a series of sport-specific governance challenges in India.

What is the history of sports governance in India?

  • In the early 1950sthe Federal government created the Indian Sports Council (AICS) apprehend the decline in sporting standards in the country.
  • In 1982 after the Asian games, the sports department was transformed into Department of Youth and Sports.
  • In 1984the national sports policy was launched.
  • In 2000the department was transformed into Ministry of Youth and Sports (MYAS).
  • In 2011the Ministry of Youth and Sports notified the National Sports Development Code of India 2011.
  • In 2022Ministry of Civil Aviation launched National Air Sports Policy 2022 (NASP 2022) for Aerobatics, aerodynamic modeling, hot air ballooning, drones, hang gliding and motorized hang gliding, skydiving, etc.

What is the current sports governance model in India?

  • The model in India has stakeholders such as the Ministry of Youth and Sports (MYAS), Indian Olympic Association (IOA), State Olympic Association (SOA), National Sports Federation (NSF), Sports Authority of India (SAI), etc
  • A general graphical representation of the arrangements between them is as follows:

What are the issues associated with sports governance in India?

  • Unclear demarcation of rights and responsibilities: The sport is delivered by many different parties. Currently, there is very little distinction between management and governance in Indian sports. In many Indian sports organisations, the executive committee – the body ostensibly responsible for governance – usually ends up doing the management work.
    • Lack of checks and balances: Under the pretense of autonomy, they were allowed to operate in any way without checks and balances.

  • Lack of transparency and accountability: The current sports model faces liability issues such as having unlimited discretionary powers and there is also no transparency in decision-making with irregularity in revenue management.
    • For example, in July 2010, the Central Vigilance Commission published a report which showed that there was irregularities in 14 Commonwealth Games projects held in India.
    • The Fixing Indian Premier League spots in 2013 and a betting case arose when Delhi police arrested three cricketers, on charges of alleged spot-fixing.
      • Subsequently, the Lodha Committee has been appointed by the Supreme Court of India analyze and recommend feasible actions to improve the Board of Cricket Control of India (BCCI).

  • Inadequate professionalization: Many Indian sports organisations, especially the governing bodies, have not made structural adaptations to meet the associated challenges of a commercialized and professional sector.
    • These organizations continue to rely on volunteers to manage the operations of the organization rather than hiring trained professionals to handle the increased workload.

  • Sport as a hobby vs profession: In India, sport is mostly considered a hobby due to low pass rate, academic pressures and job seeker mentality, difficult for young people to make sport a profession.
  • Lack of sufficient infrastructure: The state of sports infrastructure in India has not yet reached the desired level. This creates an obstacle to the development of a sports culture in the country.
    • According to Constitution of India, sport is a subject of state therefore there is no comprehensive approach to the development of sports infrastructure in a uniform way Across the country.

  • Performance enhancing drugs: The use of performance-enhancing substances remains a major problem in the sports sector. This problem still needs to be dealt with effectively, despite the creation of the National Anti-Doping Agency in the country.

What are the recent government initiatives to promote sports culture?

What should be the way forward?

  • Adequate investment in infrastructure: To become a leading sporting nation, India will need to invest heavily in build a modern infrastructure with international best practices in sports training, sports medicine, research and analysis through sports institutions with adequate attention to all major sports.
    • The the quality of infrastructure can be extended down to the village level and regional centers should be made available to those who are serious about taking their sport to the professional level.

  • Effective legislative support: In the absence of strong legislation, there will be no efficiency in the functions of sports authorities. Also, there could be absolute political intervention, which can be easily checked with a well-drafted legislation reducing anomalies.
  • Restructuring of governance and management: There should be a good demarcation of roles and responsibilities between different bodies involved in the Indian sports sector for maximize the use of resources and ensure there is no shortcomings to meet the needs of the sport.
    • However, this must be done in in conjunction with the sectors concerned and cannot be dictatorial with the inclusion of professionals in the strategic and management field.
    • Formation of the separated ‘Enterprise functions’ group for management of sponsorships, media rights and government funding will help to fix the responsibility of revenue management.

  • Sports awareness: By integrating sports into children’s daily lives, it will not only boost their confidence, self-image and personality, but also pave the way for a possible career in sports.
    • Towards a bottom-up approach: Change must start at the primary education level to build a country’s sports culture.
      • The educational system should be revamped to give sport equal importance in a child’s holistic upbringing.

  • Develop as a potential training center: India has a immense coaching talent with vast experience in different sports which can serve as a catalyst for the development of India as a training center for sports like Kabaddi and cricket in an international sphere.
    • Example: Iten, Kenya.
      • There’s a little town called Iten in Kenya. It has produced more than 10 world champions in athletics over the past two decades.
      • Almost every middle distance runner in the world has gone to Iten for training at least once in their life.

Question about the Drishti sector

“The complexity of the current sports governance model contributes significantly to a series of challenges for the development of sports culture in India.” Comment.

UPSC Civil Service Exam, Past Year Question (PYQ)

Q. Consider the following statements regarding the Laureus World Sports Award which was instituted in 2000: (2021)

  1. American golfer Tiger Woods was the first recipient of this award.
  2. The award has been received mainly by “Formula 1” players so far.
  3. Roger Federer received this award a maximum of times compared to others.

Which of the statements above are correct?

(a) 1 and 2 only
(b) 2 and 3 only
(vs) 1 and 3 only
(D) 1, 2 and 3

Answer: (c)

Q. Consider the following statements regarding the ICC World Test Championship: (2021)

  1. Finalists were chosen based on the number of matches they won.
  2. New Zealand have been ranked ahead of England as they have won more games than England.

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(vs) Both 1 and 2
(D) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: (d)

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