Sports in India – UPSC GS1

– Exposed Indian football to a new level of professionalism
– With bigger budget ISL clubs are able to afford the sort of players, staff, facilities, and equipment that football in the country had largely not seen
– Despite several shortcomings, organizational structure of the club have improved providing better opportunities to players.
– Necessary structure at grass-root need to be developed.


Critically comment on Indian government’s and society’s attitude towards sports and sportspersons. In your opinion, what needs to change and why? (200 Words)
Sport in general is not a regular income generation resource, except cricket that too only at national level. This fact, coupled with lack of job opportunities and high employment rates has led society consider education as utmost importance which is a positive thing, but this has led to neglecting of sports activities. Hence, it is easy understandable in light of this fact that we have very few world class sportspersons. With lack of interest among society, government also has neglected sports which is evident from meagre budget of sport federations, abysmal sport infrastructure, hostel facilities of SAI, training camps etc. in India.
Efforts aimed at psychological and mental well-being of sportspersons which are important hardly ever came for consideration.
  1. Sport federation are not covered under definition of ―state‖ in constitution. This has kept them away from public scrutiny, transparency and accountability. Unlike in other countries where sport federations are multi-stakeholder in nature in India these    institutions are under state control. This has resulted in a regulated approach rather than creative and innovative thinking required to groom best talent to represent the country.
  2. Lack of Infrastructural support. This acts as a demotivation when the players are not able to get required sports equipment within their reach. Most of the players are more poor backgrounds and can‘t afford it themselves.
  3. Lack of moral / emotional support: There is lack of psychological counsellors to promote wellbeing among players.
  4. Players are usually away from their parents and this also acts as a deterrent. The moral support of the coach becomes crucial
  5. Environment of Jealousy: The players are living with those against whom they are competing. Constant verbal and physical abuse from senior players can lead to a psychological trauma.
  6. Lack of Respect for Players: The short and competitive career span is often considered risky as well as discouraged by the society
  7. Girls from rural backgrounds find it more difficult to compete as they come from conservative backgrounds and wearing sports attire is discouraged.
  8. Lack of Female coaches discourages girls
  9. The governing boards are captured by politician and bureaucrat who have little interest and knowledge of requirements and problems. Recently, due to harassment by coaches and seniors in Kerala, 1 women sportspersons had died in SAI facility but guilty has not been brought to the book due to lack of accountability. There are cases of suspension of IOA by IOC, tussle between badminton association and hockey federation with their international counterparts. These incidents point to deep malaise prevalent in these institutions.
The following changes can become a welcome respite to the players in India
  1. Periodic monitoring of the sports hostels by the District Administration
  2. Women warden for female hostels
  3. Counsellors and Psychological Experts should be available for players.
  4. Tolerance and Sportsmanship should encouraged among players – Hatred, jealousy should not be a part of their conduct.
  5. Coach should be emphatic and motivating at all times.
  6. Private Sector should also provide the infrastructural support and scholarships to talented players.
  7. Scholarships should be provided to talented players
  8. Media must also promote other sports apart from cricket; commercialization should not be the sole objective of prompting games.
  9. Talent hunting shows for various sports can be organized by both public and private sector.
The above steps can act as a booster to promote well-being among sportspersons as well as encouraging sports as career option

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