With the government amending the Indian Companies Act to allow the use of corporate social responsibility (CSR) funds for sports other than only training, the president of the All India Council of Sports (AICS) believes the move will give a fillip to the development of sports in the country.
In its recommendations to the finance ministry, the AICS had sought amendment of rules to help the corporate world contribute CSR funds for the development of sports. The key features include setting up and maintenance of sports infrastructure. Upgrading and renovation of existing facilities and setting up of gymnasium and rehabilitation centres were the other recommendations by the AICS.
Last week, the finance ministry made amendments regarding the utilisation of CSR funds.
“Now the corporate world will be able to spend funds on diverse sporting activities. The new Act will allow the corporate world to spread its wings and will benefit the young generation to come up and play some sort of sport,” said AICS president VK Malhotra.
Earlier, under the CSR rule, private companies could only give financial assistance for training.
Malhotra believes the growth in infrastructure is an important aspect for the promotion of sports in the country. “We can add more playing fields and stadiums with the help of the corporate world,” he said.
With corporate support, there has been a spurt in prize money road races across the country. This has enabled distance runners to fuel their passion. International marathon runner Nitender Singh Rawat, who has qualified for the Rio Olympics, is among those who has benefitted immensely from the road race circuit.
League-based tournaments like the Hockey India League (HIL) have given opportunities to players to improve skills besides earning a decent livelihood.
Malhotra will now be making recommendations to the corporate affairs ministry to allow corporates to come forward and fund national and international events in the country. “This will give a boost to Olympic disciplines,” he said.
Malhotra, a former Archery Federation of India president, hoped for more development at the grassroots. “The decision of the government will be a turning point for sports,” he said.