The Minister said, in this context, he would like to quote from the Memorandum of Association of Steel Plants Sports Board which was established in 1960 by SAIL and the then TISCO which is now known as Tata Steel. Its preamble states that ‘with the abolition of Princely States which hitherto used to patronise sports in the country, a void has been created and in order to fill this void, it is essential that the industries come forward to patronise sports in the country’. He said, the objective was not only to provide sports & recreation to its employees and their wards, but also to patronise budding talent to win medals for the country. Various Sports Promotion Boards have been created under Public and Private Sector Undertakings. And the role of these Sports Promotion Boards become more important especially in view of their reach in the remote areas.
The Minister said, Indian Companies Act 2009 has now been suitably revised to include various Sports Promotion Schemes under its Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSR). He said, his Ministry has also suitably revised the Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puruskar which was introduced to encourage involvement of corporate and sports promotion boards in the development of sports in the country.
According to the revised plan, Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puruskar scheme, which was introduced in 2009, will now be given in four categories – Identification and nurturing of budding talent, Encouragement of sports through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Employment of sportspersons and sports welfare measures and Sports for Development.
He said, in the revised Scheme, eligibility criteria for all four categories have been prescribed. As ‘Training to promote rural sports, nationally recognized sports, Paralympics sports and Olympic sports’ have been included in the Schedule VII of the Companies Act 2013.
Shri Sonowal said, the companies can now spend on promotion and development of sports from the funds earmarked for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), a specific category for ‘Encouragement of sports through Corporate Social Responsibility’ has been provided for in the revised Scheme.
The Minister said, the Corporate Houses have to come forward to patronise budding talent selected as Olympic Probables to provide them training & competition exposure and inputs required for proper training, be it imported equipment; services of foreign coach, diet supplements and sports science back up. He said, CSR support for preparation of Indian Contingent for Olympic Games 2016, Commonwealth & Asian Games 2018 and Olympic Games 2020 is required. Shri Sonowal said, his Ministry has identified seven sports disciplines as Medal prospect disciplines in the Olympic Games 2016 and identified 75 core Probables and another 75 Probables will be selected shortly. The disciplines are: Archery, Athletics, Badminton, Boxing, Shooting, Weightlifting and Wrestling.
He said, under CSR, contribution of funds may be made towards National Sports Development Fund (NSDF) under Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports, Govt. of India created for support to the talented sportspersons in their training and competitions and also for financial support to former Olympians in setting up their Sports Academies.
Shri Sonowal called upon to provide CSR support in setting up Specialised Sports Academy for Differently Abled Sportspersons. He said, he has already requested the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment to set up such Sports Academy with technical support from Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports. The Specialised Sports Academy for Differently Abled Sportspersons will be first of its kind in India and it is the bounden duty of the Corporate Houses to support such noble cause. He said, it will be in the fitness of things if one Corporate House comes forward to take over the Academy and run the same professionally.
The Minister said, while his Ministry financially supports creation of sports infrastructure in all States and UTs and a scheme has been launched to create Indoor and Outdoor sports facilities in every Block, however, he strongly feels that in line with the scheme of adopting parks and traffic islands by Corporate Houses, sports infrastructure may also be adopted under CSR scheme so as to provide support system in managing, maintaining and optimum utilization of sports infrastructure available in the country especially in remote areas under Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.
Shri Sonowal expressed the confidence that the Corporate Houses will come forward and join the Prime Minister’s call for ‘Sab Ka Saath – Sab Ka Vikas’ and contribute whole-heartedly towards promotion of sports in the country.