Sports fans are not the only ones disappointed with India’s poor showing in most international sporting contests. Parliamentarians also think sports in India lacks “accountability”, “transparency” and "direction", while policy implementation is in the “throes of wilderness”. But they believe they have solutions to the problem too.
In its report, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Human Resource Development has asked the government to bring sports under the concurrent list of the Constitution. “Sports can be developed in an effective and coordinated manner only with the Centre and the states as equal partners,” it says in its recommendations.
Headed by Congress MP Janardhan Dwivedi, the 29-member panel wants sports to be integrated into school and college curricula. It says there is a complete absence of a sports culture in the country.
In a study on India’s performance in sports, the committee found a continuous deterioration, compared to that of countries like China and Korea. The panel maintains this can be changed by modern methods of training, raising the dietary allowances of sportspersons and rationalising the excise and import duties on sports goods.
The parliamentary committee is very critical of the Sports Authority of India (SAI). “At SAI’s Bangalore Centre, a sub-standard and defective AstroTurf was laid and SAI Mumbai has lost several acres of land to the mafia,” the report says. “In Ahmedabad, the synthetic athletic track had potholes big enough to break the legs of our international athletes.”
The report will be sent to the government. The sports ministry will have to submit an action-taken report on it to Parliament.