School-level sports talent to get Rs 3 lakh incentive from Delhi government

New Delhi: Under its recently launched Play and Progress scheme, the Delhi government on Thursday announced incentives of up to Rs three lakh per annum for school-level sports talent.

“While students under 14 years of age will get Rs 2 lakh per annum directly from the Delhi government and students in 14-17 years bracket can get Rs 3 lakh per annum under the Play and Progress Scheme,” Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said in a statement.

The decision came after Sisodia chaired two meetings with a special committee of experts, to discuss further modalities for the implementation of government’s policies to support budding sportspersons.

“Any student who has studied in Delhi for the past three years is eligible for financial assistance under the Play and Progress scheme, and such students (under 14 and 14-17 years of age) will also be eligible for specialised training at designated centres,” Sisodia’s office said.

The games shortlisted for this scheme are athletics, badminton, swimming, hockey, wrestling (boys and girls), cricket, football, boxing, gymnastics, kabaddi, basketball, karate, table tennis and baseball.

“Specialised training for sportsperson would be held at 18 centres like Chhatrasal Stadium, Thyagraj Stadium, East Vinod Nagar Sports Complex, Najafgarh Stadium, Rajiv Gandhi Stadium and Ludlow Castle Sports complex,” a statement said.

On the other hand, the second policy by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government – ‘Mission Excellence’ – will benefit the already established sportspersons, for their continuous growth.

“Under the second policy, 100 top-level sportspersons of Delhi would receive training and coaching on Delhi government’s expense, to prepare themselves to compete in international tournaments and championships,” the Deputy CM’s office said.

As per the guidelines of Mission excellence, only the games which are approved either by the Government of India, Ministry of Youth Affairs or Sports/Indian Olympic Association will be promoted.

“The support will discontinue if the performance declines as compared to his/her immediate previous performance,” a government official said.

Meanwhile, Sisodia underlined problems in sports administration and pointed out that the decision-making powers are mostly held by those who have had no link with sports in their lives.

The Delhi government has formed a special committee of experts (COE) with sportspersons like Karnam Malleswari, Khajan Singh, Gagan Narang, Vijender Singh and Manisha Malhotra.

“The COE also includes Rajeev Bajaj, Managing Director of Bajaj Auto Ltd.,” a statement said adding that the COE’s responsibility will range from selecting eligible talented students to experienced coaches, and coaching techniques.

In the meeting, Sisodia said: “It is important to take these policies to the sportspersons since there is no point of such hard work if the benefit does not reach the real stakeholders.”

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