As the Lok Sabha resumed discussion on sports and the government’s efforts in this regard, some MPs urged the government to build sports facilities in rural areas and launch initiatives to incorporate rural youngsters in selections.
The debate had begun on March 31 in Lok Sabha, during the Budget Session of Parliament.
Manickam Tagore of the Congress emphasised the role that sports play in fostering trust, saying that it boosts self-assurance and fosters community trust.
“The need for Bharat Jodo is an important process and Bharat Jito can happen only with Bharat Jodo,” he said.
Tagore also advocated using the private sector in the construction of sporting facilities in rural areas.
“Private sector is also an important part of it. How is the ministry planning to encourage private players to support them?” Tagore asked.
Corporate players who are not supportive of the government are being hounded, Tagore alleged.
“We have a tax terrorism mentality now. All the agencies are behind the business people… Those who are not supporting the government. Will this mindset be changed? Will private sector players be encouraged to support rural sports events as well?”
Sumedhanand Saraswati, a BJP member of parliament from Sikar, praised Khelo India and said it would be interesting to see how the flagship initiative will affect things on the ground. He also asked the government to emphasise sports in rural areas.
Krishna Devarayalu Lavu, a member of the YSR Congress, claimed that drug usage has spread throughout the nation and that sports would prevent young people from abusing drugs.
He claimed that sports were crucial for an individual’s whole growth despite the traditional emphasis on medals and competing in international competitions, h
“With regards to usage of drugs across the country, if you see statistics from 2017 to 2022, it has jumped across the country… The only way we can curb this menace is if we bring sports to the grassroots level,” he said.
Manoj Tiwari, a BJP member, praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for meeting athletes before competitions. He proposed sending selectors to villages to find undiscovered potential there.
He also recommended using wellness centres in villages to evaluate athletes’ ability.
The Bahujan Samaj Party’s Malook Nagar argued that cricket received more funding and attention than other popular sports and urged the government to support all sports equally.
In a similar spirit, MP Abusamad Samdani of the Indian Union Muslim League claimed that cricket was predominating and wanted the government to give other sports an equal amount of priority.