In an effort to identify and nurture sporting talents in the country, the union government will launch a 'Khelo India' programme at a cost of Rs 1,756 crore for the period 2017-18 to 2019-20, Union Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore said on December 10, 2017.
“The initiative would impact the entire sports ecosystem, including infrastructure, community sports, talent identification, coaching for excellence, competition structure and sports economy,” Rathore said, adding, “A new Pan Indian Sports Scholarship scheme, which would cover 1,000 most talented young athletes each year across select sports disciplines will also be introduced.”
Saying that the year 2018 will be celebrated as Year of Sports, Rathore said that each athlete selected under the scheme will receive an annual scholarship worth Rs 5 lakh for 8 years.
The minister said that a campaign, under the scheme, will be launched from January 31, 2018 to February 8, 2018 to spot sports talents under 17 years in schools, which will be telecast live.
Addressing a youth felicitation programme in Odisha, Rathore said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the revamped Khelo India programme with the objective to search sports talents and prepare them for 2024 and 2028 Olympics.
“Our aim is 2024 and 2028 Olympics. The spotted talents will be imparted specialised training to make them medal winners,” he said, adding, “Our youths and students are highly talented. They will be provided enough opportunity and environment as well as sports infrastructure to excel in this field.”
As part of the Khelo India programme, over 150 selected schools in 150 districts and 20 universities across the country will be promoted as hubs of sporting excellence, which would enable talented sports persons to pursue the dual pathway of education and competitive sports.
“The programme would cover about 200 million children in the age group of 10-18 under a massive national physical fitness drive,” the minister said, adding, “Rs 1000 crore has been earmarked for this programme.”
"We can't produce national and international level sports persons with huge infrastructure only. For this, we need strong will power," the minister said.