In an attempt to give school- level sports events a boost, the Maharashtra school education and sports department has decided to hike the grants given to players for travel, food, coaching and other expenses.
According to a recent government resolution (GR), the department has revised the sports policy of 2012 to encourage participation of students in under-19 sports activities. As part of the policy, the department has decided to increase the funds allocated to Indian School Sports Mahasangh that organises different sporting activities.
Close to Rs 10,000 will be given to taluka-level events, Rs 45,000 to district-level events, including Rs 15,000 for sports such as football, kabaddi, cricket, swimming, kho kho and other outdoor sports. A total of Rs 1 lakh will be allocated to state-level events and Rs 10 lakh to national-level ones.
Sportspersons, coaches and sporting bodies said the hiked grants are still insufficient to promote school sports in a big way. One of the major grouses is that the personal allowances given to players covering their food and travel have only been increased by Rs 50 per day.
“The GR is a farce. How can players survive on Rs 150 a day? How will they get good quality coaching, kits and equipment?” said Laxmikant Khabiye, founder of Sharad Krida va Sanskrutik Pratishthan, a sports’ organisation.
Khabiye said the department should have sought feedback from players, associations and other experts before taking the decision. “Currently, there are no individual growth opportunities for sportspersons. There are not many exceptional sports scholarships and job opportunities for them,” he said.
Others added that the department has not taken any step to help schools procure playgrounds to t rain students. “Many schools in t he city do not have place to conduct sports activities,” said Anil Bornare, spokesperson of the State Teachers’ Association.