Punjab's indigenous martial art gatka, which is an integral part of the state's heritage, is all set to get a major fillip as the union sports ministry has decided to promote it and take it under its fold.
To promote the country's indigenous sports, the ministry has come up with a scheme of Indigenous Sports and Martial Arts (ISMT) under which the ministry has picked 10 disciplines, including gatka, across the country.
"Looking into the traditional value and importance of these indigenous sports in culture, we have decided to launch a special scheme under which we can support them financially. Moreover, these sports also lead to a healthy lifestyle," says Sports Authority of India (SAI) director general Jiji Thomson. "In total, we are picking 10 disciplines and as gatka is very much part of the Punjab's tradition and culture, we have already included it in the scheme and are analysing the other disciplines to be included."
For the gatka, the SAI's Northern Centre has formed a committee under deputy director Ajit Singh. The committee will select 20 children in the age group of 8-14 during the two-day trials at the International Fateh Academy, Jandiala Guru, Amritsar, on October 29.
Under the ISMT scheme, SAI will pick 20 trainees in each discipline and those selected will get a free kit, an annual stipend of Rs. 3,000 and an insurance cover. Besides, the SAI will provide the equipment and will also give a monthly financial assistance of Rs. 10,000 to the mentor or guru under whom the selected trainees will enhance their skills. It will be a day boarding and to convert it into a residential scheme is up to the selected institute where the scheme for indigenous sports and martial arts will run.