Promotion Of Physical Education And Sports In India – Analysis


By Asif Ahmed and Parvez Farooqi

Physical education as an integral part of the academic agenda was an anathema till the dawn of the last century. But what prompted its growth and transformed this negative school of thought was the success of the Olympic Movement in Europe, under the benign leadership of the French pedagogue, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, who revived the Olympic Games at Athens in 1896.

Sports, games and physical fitness have been a vital component of our civilization, as is evident from the existence of highly evolved system of yoga and a vast range of highly developed indigenous games, including martial arts. The intrinsic linkage between sports and games and human quest for excellence was recognized ever since the inception of human civilization, reaching its epitome in the ancient Greek civilization, which was the progenitor of the Olympic movement.

Games and sports are a very necessary part of life. They keep us healthy and refresh our weary minds. Sports and physical education are useful for both for our mind and body. Physically all become healthy and mentally become disciplined. Games give us wisdom and courage, and make us bold and confident. They develop in us a spirit of co-operation. They teach us to fight in a healthy spirit, like a player fighting or playing with his rival in the playground. An ideal player has no ill-will against anyone. In short, games help to make us good citizens. Our education is incomplete without sports. Games are very useful in keeping the students and citizens busy and in developing their personalities. In modern times, there has been increasing recognition of the role of sports in Development.

The United Nation’s adopted the theme of “Sport for Development and Peace” in its Agenda in 2001. The United Nations General Assembly celebrated 2005 as the “Year of Sport and Physical Education” thereby emphasizing the need to integrate sport and physical education into the overall development agenda. The World Development Report 2007 entitled “Development and the Next Generation” published by the World Bank also conveys a categorical message to government’s and policy maker’s across the world for investing in young healthy youth and their development.

Indian Scenario for Promotion of Physical Education and Sports from Past to Present

Almost a generation had rolled by before the concept of physical education percolated into India. Even then, when the National Council of YMCAs came up with the idea of imparting physical education with a well defined syllabus to students aspiring to teach sport and physical fitness as a professional science, the move met with predictable scepticism. The programme of Government of India for Promotion of Physical Education and Sports continued to be implemented within the broad framework of the guidelines laid down in the National Policy on Education as adopted by Parliament in 1968.

Countries like India, which are experiencing a sharp rise in their youth population, enjoy a major advantage over others in terms of lower dependency ratios, which for investing in the future. Youth development through sport development assumes immense relevance, as it contributes to bringing youth together, overall personality development, and making youth more confident, focused, productive, and conversant with team work. It is these attributes that are essential to national development process. The two-fold objective of the current programme of the Central Government is participation in the main stream of internationally current programmes of physical education and sports simultaneously with the broad based mass participation and promotion of country’s traditional and indigenous activities in this field. While formulating programmes for promotion of physical education and sports the complementary nature of competitive sports aimed at excellence and high achievement on the one hand and broad-based mass physical education and sports programmes on the other have been kept in view the salient features of the programme as implemented during the year at the Central level were as under All India Council of Sports.

The 3-year term of the All India Council of Sports, which has been set up by the Government of India to advise it on matters pertaining to promotion of sports and games and which was last reconstituted for a 3-year term in July, 1978 under the Chairmanship of Field Marshal S. H. F. J. Manekshaw expired on July 20, 1981.While reconstitution of the Council is still under consideration of the Government, and the term of the existing Council was extended for a period of 3-months. During 1981, while the Council held two meetings, its Executive Committee met three times.

Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh has repeatedly emphasized from several forums the key role of youth in national development. The single most important comparative advantage which India has over other’s is that right through the first half of 21st century, India’s youth population will be burgeoning while the developed world and even China will have to increasingly bear the burden of an ageing population. At the same time, this comparative advantage can be availed of only if we nurture our youth, educate them and impart to them the required skill’s.

Development of Sports Infrastructure through Five Year Plans

In India, the integration of physical education and sports with formal education was emphasized in the First Five Year Plan itself. The Lakshmibai National Institute of Physical Education (LNIPE) at Gwalior and National Institute of Sports (NIS), Patiala were establish in the Second Five Year Plan. The National Coaching Scheme and the Rural Sports Programme were started in the Third Five Year Plan and expanded during the Fourth and Fifth Five Year Plan’s.

Talent spotting and nurturing was emphasized in the Sixth Five Year Plan. The Seventh Five Year Plan focused on the creation of sports infrastructure. The development of Rural Sports through a special Area Game was the thrust of the Eighth Five Year Plan. The Ninth Five Year Plan emphasizes the need of modern sports infrastructure. The Tenth plan sought to promote both the broad-basing of sports and the promotion of excellence in sports.

Society for the National Institutes of Physical Education and Sports:

The Society for the National Institutes of Physical Education and Sports (SNIPES), set up in 1965, as an autonomous body to look after the maintenance and administration of the two national Institutes of Physical Education and Sports, namely, the Netaji Subhas National Institute of Sports(NSNIS), Patiala and the Lakshmibai National College of Physical Education (LNCPE), Gwalior and also to, initiate steps for raising the standards of sports and games in the country through the National Coaching Scheme continued to function under the Chairmanship of Dr. Amrik Singh, Secretary of the Association of Indian Universities. SNIPES also carried out advisory functions at the national level in matters relating to promotion of physical education and yoga. SNIPES was last re-constituted for the 3-year term in June, 1979.During the year it held 4 Meetings and its Standing Committees also met to attend to the assignments given to them by SNIPES. Lakshmibai National Institute of Physical Education The Lakshmibai National College (now Institute) of Physical Education was established by Government of India, on 17th August, 1957, the centenary year of the first war of Independence. The Institute is located at Gwalior where Rani Lakshmibai of Jhansi had lost her life. In recognition of the educational services rendered by the Institute in the field of physical education, sports and research and on the recommendations of the University Grants Commission, the Government of India, Ministry of Human Resource Development (Department of Education) declared this Institute as a “Deemed to be a University”. The primary object of the College, which is one of the two National Institutes established by the Government of India in the field of Physical Education and Sports, is to provide facilities for training of high caliber Physical education teachers for educational institutions and others.

During the year, the College continued to discharge its primary responsibility of offering teacher training programmes at the graduate and post-graduate levels. Set up in 1957, the College is celebrating 1981-82 as its Silver Jubilee year. Since its inception the College has produced 1475 graduates and 472 post-graduates in, physical education. For the academic session 1981-82 with the admission of 114 students to its regular teacher training courses, the total student strength of the College was 370 including 74 women. Besides this programme, the College continued to offer extension services and refresher courses for the in-service personnel, in the field of physical education and sports. Further, it continued to implement on agency basis, the Central programmes like National Physical Fitness Programme, National Prize Competition for the Published Literature on Physical Education and Sports on behalf of the Central Government.

National Physical Fitness Scheme:

The Scheme, which was introduced by the Central Government in 1959,Programme to popularise the concept of physical fitness among the people and also to arouse their enthusiasm for higher’ standards of physical fitness and achievement, continued to be implemented during the year in collaboration with the State Governments/Union Territory Administrations and other selected agencies. The Lakshmibai National College of Physical Education, Gwalior, continued to function as the Central agency for implementation of the Scheme.

The 22nd All India Seminar for the State Liaison Officers connected with the implementation of the programme was held at Pachmarhi to review the performance of the programme during the previous year and to formulate the proposals for the current year. The programme was accordingly implemented as per the present pattern during 1981-82 with a total participation target of 20 lakhs. The 21st All India Competition for National Award in Physical Fitness was held at Gwalior in February 1982. A large number of participants from different States and Union Territories took part in the competition.

Physical Education and Promotion of Yoga:

Yoga is based on the complete control of body and mind. The promotion Scheme for Yoga, which is a part of the overall programme of Ministry for development of physical education and sports continued to be implemented during the year as per the existing pattern. The Kaivalayadhama Shreeman Madhava Yoga Mandir Samiti, Lonavala (Pune) continued to be assisted for its maintenance and developmental expenditure for its research and/or teacher training activities in the field of Yoga. The recommendations made by a Review Committee which was, set up to assess the working of the Samiti and to make recommendations with regard to its projected development during the coming years have since been accepted by the Government.

These recommendations include inter alia strengthening of the research and/or teacher training programmes of the Samiti Grants to Physical Education. This Scheme, which has been taken up as an independent Scheme from Teacher Training Institutions 1979-80 onwards, provides for financial assistance to physical education teacher training institutions, both Government as well as non-Government, through the State Governments, to cover 50% of the expenditure on specific projects for improvement of physical facilities in these Institutions like construction of gymnasia, swimming pools, development of play-grounds, and purchase of library books and sports equipment, subject to the ceiling of Central Government grants stipulated for each project. The scheme continued to be implemented during the year in consultation with SNIPES. On the basis of the recommendations made by SNIPES, a revision of the existing pattern of the financial assistance of the scheme so as to make its nature and scope more broad-based and its implementation more effective is under consideration with the Ministry.

The Netaji Subhas National Institute of Sports

(NSNIS) Patiala, established by the Government of India in 1961, along with its Southern Centre located at Bangalore (established in 1975) has been entrusted with the responsibility of training high caliber coaches in various sports disciplines and also to implement, on agency basis, on behalf of the Central Government, the National Coaching Scheme through a countrywide network of Regional Sports Coaching Centres which are being run in collaboration with the State Sports Councils, State Governments and Nehru Yuvak Kendras. The Institute continued to offer regular and condensed coaching courses in various sports disciplines. For the academic session 1981-82, 369 trainee coaches including 25 foreign trainees, were admitted to the regular courses at the Institute, in 16 sports disciplines. Since its inception in 1961, the Institute has so far produced 5162 coaches including 130 from foreign countries in different disciplines.

Under the National Coaching Scheme of the Institute 23 Regional Coaching Centres are functioning all over the country in collaboration with the State Sports Councils/State Governments. The National Coaching Scheme has now a sanctioned strength of 650 coaches out of which 584coaches are in position including several international and national champions, spread all over the country. Besides its regular coaching programme, the Institute continued to implement, on agency basis, the Central Programmes of National Sports Festival for Women, All India Rural Sports Tournaments, Sports Talent Search Scholarships Scheme on behalf of the Ministry of Education and Culture.

In the context of India’s preparations for the IX Asian Games, the Institute has been entrusted with the job of training the national teams for their participation in the Games and also for importing sports equipment for use in training for and in competitions for the Games. The Institute has also requisitioned the services of foreign coaches for the preparation of Indian teams for the Games.

The Institute has also been rendering technical assistance to the Special Organising Committee of the Asian Games in various matters pertaining to India’s preparations for the Games. Consequent upon Government approval to the construction of the new complex of the South Centre of the Institute at Bangalore at a total estimated cost of Rs. 2.5 crores, construction programme of the new complex is being formally started. The Eastern Centre of the Institute at Calcutta is also likely to start functioning shortly.

Academics in the Field of Sports

The Sports Authority of India has two functional wings relating to academics which are in the fields of sports and physical education. These are:-Netaji Subhas National Institute of Sports, Patiala (NSNIS) and LNCPE, Trivandrum. (a) Netaji Subhas National Institute of Sports, Patiala The Institute conducts academic courses for training of coaches and looks after research and development in sports related subjects. It conducts 24 months’ diploma courses in fifteen sports disciplines and also offers 22 months’ specialised post diploma master’s course and 1 year post graduate diploma course in sports medicine. NSNIS is the only institute of its kind in the country and has so far trained 11,751 coaches at Patiala and at its centres at Bangalore (established in 1975), Calcutta (1983) and Gandhinagar (1987). In addition, under the Mass Sports Participation Programme, certificate courses of six weeks duration were held at these centres and 15,601 sports instructors have so far been trained. NSNIS is also conducting one year post MBBS Diploma course in sports medicine and 28 doctors have so far qualified. The period of this course has been raised to two year from the academic session 1993- 94. (b) LNCPE, Trivandrum This College was inaugurated in 1984 and is fast developing in terms of infrastructural facilities, academic programmes and other essential requirements. This college offers a 3 year Bachelor of Physical Education (BPE) and 2 years M.PE degree courses. One hundred and forty six students (67 boys and 59 girls) are at present studying in the college. Upto the academic year 1995-96, 270 students have passed out from the college.

Promotion of Sports Grants to State Sport Councils In consultation with, and on the recommendation of the All India Council of Sports, financial assistance under the Scheme, as per the approved Pattern and in accordance with the order of priority laid down by the Council, was released to the State Sports Councils in States and Union Territories during the past years for development of following facilities (i) Organisation of State level coaching camps; (ii) Maintenance of existing Rural Sports Centres and establishment of new Centres;

(iii) Financial assistance for purchase of sports equipment; (iv) Development of play-fields; (v) Construction of stadium; and (vi) Construction of swimming pools.

National Sports Organisation

The Scheme, which is being implemented through the University Grants Commission, Association of Indian Universities and the Netaji Subhas National Institute of Sports, aims at improving sports standards among college and university students and helping the talented sportsmen and women to achieve excellence in their respective sports disciplines. Whereas financial assistance is given through the University Grants Commission for construction of Gymnasia, development of play-fields etc. in colleges and
Universities, the Association of Indian Universities have been entrusted with the job of organising coaching-cum-sports competitions among the college and university students. Similarly, 100 scholarships annually of the value

Of Rs. 1200 per annum per student are’ being awarded through the Netaji Subhas National Institute of Sports to outstanding College and University sportsmen and women.

Grants to National Sports

The National Sports Federations /Associations are autonomous bodies Federations/Associations engaged in the promotion of sports and game’ in general and their competitive aspect in particular. During the past years National Sports Federations/Associations continued to be assisted for various purposes viz.

(i) Grant of passage cost to National Sports
Federations for deputing teams abroad for participation in international fixtures;

(ii) Holding of National Coaching
Camps for preparing national teams for their participation in international events; (iii) Holding of Annual Coaching Camps;

(iv) Receiving sports teams from abroad and sending Indian teams abroad.

All India Rural Sports Tournaments

The country-wide programme of Rural Sports Tournaments was launched by the Central Government in 1970-71 with the twin object of involving a major segment of our youth in rural areas into the main stream of the country’s sports activities and also to spot and nurture sports talent. The Programme at present involves an annual participation of about 15 lakhs rural youth right from the block level up to, the National level. The programme is being organised, by the Netaji Subhas National Institute of Sports, on agency basis, on behalf of the Government.

International Sport Development Agreement Confirmed For India:

UK Sport and the Government of India’s Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sport signed a Memorandum of Understanding in New Delhi recently which marks the start of an international sport development partnership that will reach thousands of school children and communities throughout India. The agreement brings together national and international experts in the fields of development, physical education, sport development and sporting excellence to provide access to quality physical education and sport at community level and the development of pathways to excellence for elite athletes. This new commitment between both nations was sealed by Richard Stagg, British High Commissioner to India, and S. K. Arora, Secretary of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sport. The ceremony was also attended by Mr Mani Shankar, the Government of India’s Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports, who is currently leading the finalising a new national sports policy. The partnership agreement offers both parties a unique opportunity to share best practice methods and expertise, while also allowing those involved in sport in the UK to keep up to date with the latest international developments. UK Sport’s Head of Worldwide Impact, Debbie Lye, confirmed that as a sporting nation India has an important role to play internationally in youth development through sport and future legacy planning for the hosting of international sporting events. The programmes initiatives commenced shortly with an inward visit to the UK by key organisations involved in physical education and school sport in India. This will be one of the first steps in supporting the programmes vision of developing sustainable and supportive systems within which children and young people of all abilities can enrich their lives by playing and excelling in sport.

Some Schemes and Incentives for promotion of sports activities in India

  • Cash Awards to Winners of Medals in International Sports Events
  • Sports Talent Search Scholarship Scheme
  • Scholarships for Training of Specialists and Outstanding Sportspersons
  • Sports Fund for Pension to Meritorious Sportspersons
  • National Welfare Fund for Sportspersons
  • Travel Grant to Sports Specialists
  • Promotion of Sports and Physical Education among Women
  • Rural Sports Programme
  • Rural Sports Clubs
  • North Eastern Sports Festival
  • Dr. B R. Ambedkar Rural Sports Tournaments
  • National Sports Festival for Women
  • Evaluation of Sports Schemes
  • Exchange of Sports and Physical Education Teams/Experts
  • SAF Games,

National Sports Policy for India

It will thus be seen that at the time of the formulation of our constitution, “sports” were seen as a form of recreation and little more, on par with “entertainment and amusements”. The role of sport’s in national development requires to be redefined to accord to sport’s that critical role in youth development which is prerequisite of accelerated and inclusive national development.

Physical education and sport’s have been receiving support under Successive Five Year Plans, but received attention as a subject of policy only after India hosted the IXth Asian Games in 1982. The National Sports Policy, 1984 was the first move towards developing a conducive policy framework for the development and promotion of sport’s in our country. The implementation of the National Sports Policy, 2001, that focuses on excellence and broad basing of sporting activities. The policy seeks to realise the unfulfilled objectives of the earlier government guidelines on sports which were included in the National Education Policy of 1986, “It was felt that many objectives contained in the National Education Policy remained substantially unrealised. Therefore, in order to tackle emerging trends in sports the NSP has been formulated, The policy focusses on enhanced participation of women tribals and rural youth in sporting activities and encouragement to traditional games like archery, kabaddi and kho-kho.

The NSP proposes to set up specialised sports schools in various parts of the country and make physical education compulsory in school curricula till the secondary stage, The development and upgradation of infrastructure is sought to be given a filip and incentives have been announced to attract corporate involvement in sporting activities. Companies would be provided 100 per cent tax concession on money spent on promotion of sports as assured by Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha (in 2001) earlier.

There was an urgent need to tap sporting talent from rural and tribal areas and the Centre would supplement the efforts of state governments in achieving this aim, “The Panchayati Raj institutions will also be involved in promotion of sports at the grassroots level and developing the required infrastructure, adding special emphasis would be given on encouraging sporting activities in the North-Eastern states. The policy also seeks to strengthen scientific coaching and provides for incentives to sportspersons who excel at the national and international levels. The policy, based on the recommendations of A.K. Pandya Committee submitted in 1984, envisages government support to all the national federations and other agencies involved in promoting sporting activities and the combining of sports with tourism. The Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports proposes to have a national consultation on the draft comprehensive National Sports policy in 2007.The 2007 Sport’s Policy fully recognizes the contribution of physical education and sport to personal development, especially youth development, community development, health and well-being, education, economic development and entertainment, and in the promotion of international peace and brotherhood, which is the spirit of olympism. The Comprehensive National Sport Policy 2007 aims at the making the framework for sports in India more effective and inclusion with the full ownership and involvement of all stakeholder’s. The policy aims at adopting a holistic approach to sports developments taking into account the health benefits, recreation benefits, education benefits, social benefits, economic benefits and source of national pride that it offers. So the need to require a alignment of responsibilities between the Union and State Government and the Indian Olympic Association, the Sports Authority of India, the National Sports Federation and their affiliated bodies at the state and district level, and corporate bodies. All of this in turn might require Constitutional changes and elaboration of a suitable legal framework.

Limitations in the field

The investment made by most of the states in sports has been negligible, although a few states have shown the way to according a high priority to sport’s. In consequence, we have not succeeded in providing universal access to sports, or creating a national sports culture, thus also impairing excellence in sports. It is estimated that out of a population below 35 year’s of some 77 crore, only 5 crore or so have any access to organized sports and games, to the neglect of nearly 72 crore of our children, adolescents and youth. Serious concern at this state of affairs has been expressed in various Parliamentary Committee Report’s. Despite these Report’s there has been little progress made in taking organized sports and games to children in rural India or in involving Panchayats in the promotion of such sport’s and game’s. The Parliament Standing Committee on Human Resources Development studied a wide range of issues concerning sports in 1998 and emphasized the need for bringing about reform’s in sports management and governance in order to make it more dynamic, responsive, responsible and result oriented. Some of the major problem identified by the Committee includes:

  • Lack of sport’s culture in the country
  • The non integration of sport’s with the formal education system
  • The lack of coordination between all stakeholders
  • The inadequacy of sport’s infrastructure
  • The inadequate participation of women in sport’s
  • The lack of effective sport’s system for talent identification and training and fair selection of teams


India expects its citizens to have the qualities of true sportsmen. If we all acquire these qualities, there will be no narrow-mindness, no corruption, and no injustice. There will be independence in the real sense of the word. India, in recent years, has been making proactive efforts to host several mega sporting events. After hosting the Afro-Asian Games in2003 at Hyderabad and the World Military Games in year2007 at Hyderabad. The Commonwealth Youth Games will be held in this (2008) year at Pune, which will be followed by the Commonwealth Games in2010 at Delhi.

There is an immediate need to create a network of basic sport’s infrastructure throughout the country and ensure proper access to it to enable more people to participate in sports thereby broadening our base for scouting of talent. The Working Group on Youth Affair’s and Sports for the Formulation of Eleventh Five Year Plan also emphasized the need to strengthen the institutional frame work for the development of sports in the country. The development of sports and physical education as an essential ingredient of youth development and the promotion of a sports culture in our country. It also look’s at other countries such as Cuba and China, where sport’s and youth development, have been integrated in such a manner that they have made great progress in achieving the twin objectives of broad-basing sport’s and achieving excellence in individual disciplines.


Draft, Comprehensive Sport Policy 2007, Sports Bureau, Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.
Accessed on 28 February, 2008.

Explanatory note to the Draft Comprehensive National Sports Policy. Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports.

International Sports Development Agreement confirmed for India.UK Sport, News. Tim crook’s-11-10-2007. hhhp:// Accessed on 28 February, 2008.

National Sports Policy, 2001. Sportal, Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports.
Accessed on 28 February, 2008.

Physical Education and Sports,’s/home.htm.
Accessed on 28 February, 2008.

Pioneer of Physical Education, The Hindu, online edition of India’s National Newspaper.
Accessed on 28 February, 2008.

Asif Ahmed

Asif Ahmed is Assistant Professor at the University of Kurukshetra, teaching defense and strategic studies. He holds an MA in Defence & Strategic Studies (Punjabi University) with couple of other post graduate degrees in Mass Communications and Journalism. Professor Asif Ahmed has published one book on national security of India and authored articles in English, Punjabi, and Hindi languages in various newspapers, magazines journals, and has also edited chapters in books at the national and international levels. For some time he also participated in Live Radio Talks and Phone in counseling programs at the AIR Patiala station in India. Professor Ahmed's areas of interests are National Security of India, Distance Education, Human Rights Education, and Environment Education. He may be reached at [email protected]. and blogs at

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