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Fact Checking Government claims about promoting Sports

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The present BJP government published an infographic on the 48-months portal that makes five claims about promoting sports in the country. These five claims are about the Khelo India scheme and the sports talent search portal. Here is a fact check of these claims.

The present BJP government published an infographic on the 48-months portal that makes five claims about promoting sports in the country. These five claims are about the Khelo India scheme and the sports talent search portal. Here is a fact check of these claims.

Khelo India scheme_infographic

What is Khelo India?
The first claim is that Khelo India is a mass movement to promote a culture of sports and fitness among the youth. In a response to a question in the Lok Sabha, the government stated that ,’The Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports is implementing the Central Sector Scheme named Khelo India, National Programme for Development of Sports  from the Financial year 2016-17 with the following objectives

  • Mass participation of youth in annual sports competitions through a structured competition
  • Identification of talent
  • Guidance and nurturing of the talent through existing sports academies and new set up either by the central Government or State Government or in PPP mode
  • Creation of Sports Infrastructure at mofussil, Tehsil, District, State levels, etc’.

The annual report of the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports (2017-18) says that, ‘A new umbrella Scheme Khelo India was launched during the financial year 2016-17 after merger of existing scheme Rajiv Gandhi Khel Abhiyan (RGKA), Urban Sports Infrastructure Scheme (USIS) and National Sports Talent Search System Programme (NSTSSP).’

Claim: A mass movement to promote a culture of sports and fitness among the youth.

Fact: The claim is subjective and also the Khelo India scheme is the outcome of the merger of three  previous schemes, some of which were UPA era schemes. Hence the claim remains UNVERIFIED.

What is the financial assistance given to players?
The second claim is that there is an annual financial assistance of 5 lakh rupees per annum for 8 years to talented players.  According to the Khelo India website, ‘Talented players identified in priority sports disciplines at various levels by the High-Powered Committee will be provided annual financial assistance of INR 5 lakh per annum for 8 years.’

The same is also stated in a Lok Sabha answer which states, ‘The Scheme, includes a vertical of Talent Identification and Development’ which has provisions for identification of talented players in priority sports disciplines at various levels through different avenues. Best talents in those sports discipline will be identified by the High Powered Committee and provided annual financial assistance, at the rate of Rs.5 lakh per annum, for a period of 8 years under a Long Term Athlete Development Programme.’

In response to another question in the Lok Sabha, the government stated that a total of 563 athletes have been identified till March 2018 under the ‘Talent Search and Development’ vertical of Khelo India Scheme in the first year for support under a Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD) programme. The government also stated that further scrutiny was underway.

Claim: Annual financial assistance of 5 lakh rupees per annum for 8 years to talented players.

Fact: Best talents in those sports discipline will be identified by the High Powered Committee and provided annual financial assistance, at the rate of Rs.5 lakh per annum, for a period of 8 years under a Long Term Athlete Development Programme. Hence, the claim is TRUE.

What are the Khelo India school games?
The third claim is that, ‘First Khelo India school games launched on Jan 2018, 3507 players from 29 states and 7 UTs participated.’

According to the response to a question in the Lok Sabha, ‘The 1st Khelo India School Games, 2018, which were held in Delhi from 31st January to 8th February, 2018 witnessed participation of 3507 athletes from 29 States and 7 Union Territories (UTs).’

It has to be noted that the national school games are also organized by the School Games Federation of India.

Claim: First Khelo India school games launched on Jan 2018, 3507 players from 29 states and 7 UTs participated.

Fact: The 1st Khelo India School Games, 2018, which were held in Delhi from 31st January to 8th February, 2018 witnessed participation of 3507 athletes from 29 States and 7 Union Territories (UTs). Hence, the claim is TRUE.

What is the financial outlay for Khelo India program?
The fourth claim is that the revamped Khelo India program will have a financial outlay of 1,756 crore rupees for 2017-18 to 2019-10.   In response to a question in the Lok Sabha, the government stated that ‘the Khelo India Scheme, with an estimated financial implication of Rs.1756 crore from 2017-18 to 2019-20, aims at strengthening the entire sports ecosystem of the country.’  It is to be noted that there was budget allocation for various schemes earlier as well, but not at this scale. As far as Khelo India is concerned, the total allocation for 2017-18 & 2018-19 is about Rs. 1018 crores. It remains to be seen if the budget allocation in 2019-20 will be in excess of Rs. 700 crore for Khelo India to match the overall targets.

Claim: Revamped Khelo India program will have a financial outlay of 1,756 crore rupees for 2017-18 to 2019-10.

Fact: The total allocation for Khelo India  in 2017-18 & 2018-19 is about Rs. 1018 crores. It remains to be seen if the budget allocation in 2019-20 will be in excess of Rs. 700 crores so that the total outlay for the three years matches Rs. 1756 crores. Hence, the claim remains UNVERIFIED.

 What is the sports talent search portal?
The last claim is that a transparent platform has been launched for talented youth to share their achievements. The annual report of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (2017-18)  states that, ‘Sports Talent Search Portal was launched to spot the best talent from among the young population of the country in August 2017 in the presence of Arjuna awardees and thousands of school children. The portal will provide a transparent platform for talented youth to upload their achievements. Shortlisted applicants will undergo selection trials and those who pass the trials will be offered admission to SAI schemes.’

Claim: Transparent platform for talented youth to share their achievements

Fact: Sports Talent Search Portal was launched in August 2017. The portal allows anyone to register and apply for the schemes implemented by the ‘Sports Authority of India’. While the portal is launched, whether it has given way to transparent selection process is not known. Hence the claim remains UNVERIFIED.

This story is part of a larger series on the 4-years of the Modi government. This series has been made possible with the flash grant of the International Fact Checking Network (IFCN). Read the rest of the stories in this series here
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