Millennium Post

3 paise per day per capita on sport can achieve more

India does not have a sports culture," seems to be a common proverbial expression used to draw up the reason and logic behind our poor medals tally at mega events like the Olympics, where we have 28 medals to our credit over the past 116 years. The Sports Minister, in a recent statement in Parliament, said India spends 3 paise per head per capita on sports. The total outlay of the Department of Sports of the ministry during the year 2017-18 is Rs 1,393.21 crore. As per figures of the Census 2011, the population of India is 121 crore. Thus, per capita per day spend of the outlay of the Department of Sports of this ministry alone is around 3 paise.
The word 'sport' seems to be too encompassing and the average Indians tend to get confused between exercise and fitness, playing a game and adopting a sport. Exercise is physical activity that enhances health and fitness of an individual. A sport is a deeper concept which tests the skills and abilities of an individual and is competitive and played in a set of predefined rules, with the clear objective for the sportsperson to "win".
While the parameters of measurement to determine the 3 paise spend seems to be stemming from a fairly meticulous and careful calculation, what remains vague is the nature of spend of even the 3 paise. Countries like UK and China spend a huge amount of money on sport in comparison to India's share. Also, these countries are clear about why they are spending what they are spending!
The sports schemes being implemented by the ministry, as mentioned in its documents, aim to infuse sports culture and achieve sporting excellence in the country. Keeping this in mind, 3 paise per day per head certainly brings us to a situation of an unintended result.
It was also mentioned in Parliament that the contribution of the private sector was not taken into consideration for the calculation. As per Schedule VII of the Companies Act 2013, training to promote rural sports, nationally recognised sports, paralympic sports and Olympics is one of the activities which may be included by companies in their Corporate Social Responsibility Policies.
The larger question here is whether Sport development in India is really regarded as a social responsibility?
National Sports Development Fund (NSDF) in 1998 under Charitable Endowment Act was set up, contribution to which from Corporate Sector during the last 10 years has been a little over Rs 100 crore, whereas the corporate spend on IPL and the likes of it, runs into billions of rupees.
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