Time to focus on developing sports infrastructure: Minister
Sai Nikesh | The Dollar Business The Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Sarbananda Sonowal on Tuesday called upon the corporate houses to extend their help in making India a super power in the world of sports. “Be it through the imported equipment or services of foreign coach, among other facilities, the Corporate Houses have to come forward to encourage the budding sports talent by providing them a proper training and inputs required,” the Minister said in an official release. Speaking at the Eastern India Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Summit at Kolkata, the Minister said, “If the Corporate Houses spend a portion of their CSR funds towards promotion of sports, India will surely emerge as the super power in sports in the world.” He further called upon the corporate companies to consider adoption of sports infrastructure under CSR policy to manage and develop sports infrastructure of the country under Government of India’s ‘Swatch Bharat Abhiyan’. The Minister felt that in line with the infrastructure funding, the companies may also set up parks and traffic islands under CSR. Referring to the Memorandum of Association of Steel Plants Sports Board that suggests the essentiality of industries in patronizing sports in the country, the Union Minister also called upon the industries to make active participation in the sports sector. The Minister also stressed upon the need for Sports Promotion Boards created under Public and Private Sector Undertakings, in exploring the sports talent in remote areas. While informing that the Indian Companies Act 2009 and Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puruskar have now been revised to encourage corporate involvement in the sector, the Minister urged the companies to designate the funds under CSR for on promotion of Indian sports, under ‘Encouragement of sports through CSR’ option in the revised scheme. The Minister also sought CSR funding for the preparation of Indian Contingent for Olympic Games 2016, Commonwealth & Asian Games 2018 and Olympic Games 2020. The companies were also asked to make funds towards National Sports Development Fund, thereby providing a financial support to the former Olympians in setting up Sports Academies. According to the Confederation of Indian Industries summary report-‘Business of Sports’, the global sports sector is estimated to be worth around $480-620 billion. However, in India, the sports is yet to be fully recognized as a sector and there is no estimated size of the Indian sports industry, says the report. The report further says the sports industry comprises of sports tourism, sporting goods which includes manufacturing and retail, among others. Sport sector’s contribution to many world economies stands at 1-3 % of the country’s GDP, says the report, adding that many global economies have proved that good return on investments can be achieved through the sports sector. Coming to India’s case, India, having been on a steady progress in multi-discipline sports competitions like Olympic Games, Commonwealth and Asian Games, having won many world championships, may have to focus on sports sector as an industry that would boost its economy. In this regard, the latest pitch by the Government of India towards the corporate funding in the sports sector will come as a good news for the corporate houses to foresee and find their way for a good return on investments phase by investing in the the Indian sports sector. This would also send green signals across the globe waking up the global private players too to come forward for making investments in the Indian sports sector, like the way they have been interested into various other sectors of India.
This article was published on February 17, 2015.