FILE PHOTO: Cricketer and MP Sachin Tendulkar arriving at Parliament House on the opening day of Monsoon Session on Parliament on August 5, 2013 in New Delhi, India.
Tendulkar, a Member of Parliament in the Upper House that is the Rajya Sabha, had begun his new innings as an MP with a detailed letter that in great detail put forward a plan to improve sporting infrastructure at the university levels as well as identifying young talents in schools and colleges.
The letter had been addressed to the then Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal and then Sports Minister Ajay Maken. The letter was reportedly two pages long and along with it there was said to be a 25-slide presentation that was also enclosed.
Tendulkar’s plans had borrowed elements from a similar plan developed by the Sports Authority of India (SAI)last year and is said to have incorporated key learnings from the sports development models adopted in countries like China and some Eastern European nations.
But the proposal seems to have hit a roadblock as developments on it have stalled and the HRD ministry seems to have taken no action on it.
Efforts to bring in sport as a subject that would be part of the curriculum in schools are said to have not even begun.
The cricketer’s plan had four major points – tapping into grassroot-level sport to identify talent at a young age and nurturing them, promoting sports at university and college levels, revamping sporting infrastructure and making physical activity a part of the school curriculum.
The minister and secretary were showed a presentation by the then DG SAI Desh Deepak Verma and Regional Director Roque Dias on ‘Vision 2020′ and Maken was informed that all the necessary points outlined by Tendulkar in his proposal have been incorporated.
Based on SAI’s own 2020 vision document and Tendulkar’s very own plan, Maken had announced at a press conference in Delhi sometime last year, that India would target bringing back at least 25 medals from the 2020 Olympics.
However, nothing much has happened since and some other countries such as Bangladesh and South Africa have in the meantime gone full steam ahead with their respective programmes.
SAI’s efforts were further stymied when the junior and senior divisions were merged together, thus making it tougher for the sporting body to execute its plans.
SAI tried to make the Vision 2020 a reality but it suffered a major setback when the junior teams division was merged with the senior division and the project went into cold storage.
The president of the Athletics Federation of India, Adille Sumariwala, too had taken exception to this move and had questioned Sports Minister Jitendra Singh on the subject during a recent press conference to which the Sports Minister was not able to provide a suitable reply.