Act One | Comment

Still on the starting block

It may be raining medals for India in the 2018 Commonwealth Games, but a law to establish India’s first full-fledged sports university of international standards has come up against a brick wall. The National Sports University Bill of 2017 is pending in Parliament since its introduction in mid-2017.

The university is intended to fill several gaps that exist in the national sports environment, including in areas such as sports science, technology, management and high performance training.

The legislation proposes a university with exclusive focus on the creation of a high standard of infrastructure for the development of sports sciences and the training of athletes. Apart from this, it is to facilitate bachelor’s and master’s degrees, research and training in various areas related to sports. The university is also to double up as the national training centre for select disciplines.

The university will also be empowered to establish outlying campuses within and outside India. Apart from academic programmes and research, the university and its outlying campuses are to impart training to elite athletes, sports officials, referees and umpires and evolve as centres of excellence in various disciplines.

Foreign assistance

To make the university a world class one, a memorandum of understanding has been signed by the Government of India with two Australian universities, the University of Canberra and Victoria University, for the development of curriculum, research facilities and laboratories.

The university is proposed to be established within a period of two financial years, with effect from 2017-18 to 2018-19. The total expenditure towards its establishment is estimated to be ₹524 crore, which includes expenditure for the establishment of outlying campuses. Land for the university has been granted by the Government of Manipur free of cost.

Section 6 of the Bill states that the university is “open to all castes, creed, race or class”. The Central government is to review the work and progress of the university.

The university’s chancellor is to be appointed by the Centre. The chancellor should be an eminent person in the field of sports who is either a sportsperson himself or a sports administrator or sports academician. He or she would hold office for a term of five years and not be eligible for reappointment.

The Bill cites 15 objectives for the university, the most prominent among them being is to evolve talented athletes into an elite league and “make India become a sporting power”.

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Printable version | May 10, 2021 9:05:56 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/still-on-the-starting-block/article23516858.ece

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