Modi govt at 8 Years: There is something about sports that unites people. Something that brings people together in their most adverse moments. Be it India's heroics at the Tokyo Olympics, the recent Thomas Cup win, or Nikhat Zareen scripting history in the boxing ring, sports have the power to transcend political, religious and geographical boundaries. India is in the midst of such emotions.
When we talk about the success of Indian cricket, the conversation cannot go along without mentioning its apex body, the BCCI, which is arguably the most powerful board in world cricket.
Similarly, when other sports do well, we'll need to give credit where it's due. The Modi government has been at the forefront of this change and have put in tremendous efforts to not only uplift the sporting culture in the country, but to also be there for the athletes both in good and bad times.
The Active Support
Chirag Shetty, one of the stars of India's Thomas Cup win recently said he has never seen a Prime Minister call a sports team after a victory. He further added that the call motivated the entire team to whole different level.
Not only this, many athletes, time and again, have hailed PM Modi for the active and continuous support. Now consider this, PM Modi promised PV Sindhu that he would have ice cream with her once she returned from Tokyo Olympics, and guess what?
Once she returned, he did have a ice cream session with her. If memory serves well, forget India, I don't remember any Prime Minister going that extra-mile.
Recently, The Indian Deaflympics contingent scripted history as the country recorded its best-ever performance at the event, winning seven bronze, one silver and eight gold medals.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi hosted the entire Indian Contingent at his residence at 9:30 AM on Saturday.
These gestures go a long way, along with the obvious boost in monetary backing, which we'll discuss next.
The Big Budget Allocation
The Modi goverment allocated Rs. 3062.60 cr to the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports - which is the highest ever in the history in of India. This is an increase from the last year by a margin of Rs 305.58 crores.
Sports Authority of India
Sports Authority of India is an autonomous body that is responsible for the infrastructure, organising camps, games, taking care of players and more. Over the years, SAI has seen a gradual increase in its budget allocation. Yes, it could have been more, but the steps are being taken in the right direction,
Last year, the budget for SAI witnessed an increase from Rs. 653 crore vs the revised estimates of the previous fiscal at Rs. 599 crore. One thing here is worth noting, even during the pandemic year in 2020, SAI's budget was increased by more than Rs. 100 crore. This was when most other schemes and bodies faced a cut in budgetary allocation.
Target Olympic Podium Scheme
Target Olympic Podium Scheme or TOPS is another scheme that needs attention. It is a scheme targeted toward preparing prospective medal candidates for the big games. Neeraj Chopra, Mary Kom, and many others have been the beneficiary of this scheme.
Khelo India is another scheme that came under the current leadership. The scheme looks to identify talent and promote sporting culture at the grassroots level of the country. This scheme also has seen a gradual increase in its budgetary allocation over the years.
This year too, the allocation increased by over Rs. 100 crores. Lakshya Sen - one of the heroes of the Thomas Cup win is a prime example and a beneficiary.
Talking about Thomas Cup, a lot of effort has gone in behind the scenes to script that moment. The government has spent a whopping amount of Rs. 67.19 crore in the last four years.
From games to camps, to foreign tours and much more, the work has been put in, and the historic results are for everyone to see.
Yes, we are still far away from sporting powerhouses like China or the U.S., and it will take much more to reach there, but the wheels have been set in motion, and that time isn't really far.