New Delhi: Call it government apathy or lackadaisical attitude on the part of officials as batting great Sachin Tendulkar's visionary document to integrate sports into the education system has hit a roadblock.
Member of Parliament Tendulkar had opened his innings in the Rajya Sabha with a letter asking the government to focus on honing fresh talent in Indian sport, especially in schools and colleges and improving sports infrastructure at the university level.
Tendulkar, who was nominated to the Upper House earlier this year, had addressed his letter to former Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal and ex Sports Minister Ajay Maken. Tendulkar had given a two-page summary and attached a 25-slide presentation to show the road ahead for Indian sports.
Tendulkar's proposal was largely based on the one prepared by the Sports Authority of India (SAI) last year to identify talent at the age of 13-15 years and to provide them with the best facilities and systematic training so as to enable them attain peak performance at the 2020 Olympics.
The ambitious scheme, modelled on the pattern of Chinese and Eastern European countries, talked about identifying talent at school and college level and put an ultra-modern monitoring system in place to realise the medals dreams. However, Tendulkar's proposal has made no headway ever since it was submitted to the Sports and HRD ministries with the project still to see the light of the day. The modalities are yet to be worked out by NCERT to make sport a subject in school curriculum.
Tendulkar had drawn inspiration from India's strong showing at the London Olympics. He wants to make the country a sporting powerhouse and to realise the dream of 'sports for all', the Rajya Sabha MP had suggested that sports should be made part of the school curriculum.
He outlined four points in his proposal -- tap into grassroots and nurture young talent, promote sports at university and college levels, revamp sporting infrastructure and make physical activity part of school curriculum. When Tendulkar had submitted the proposal to then Sports Minister Maken, he had prompltly asked the sports secretary Sindhushree Khullar to look into the document and involve SAI into the matter.
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. Maken, after going through the presentaion, agreed to implement the project at the earliest and his views were endorsed by the 10 National Sports Federations (NSFs).
Maken, based on the Vision 2020 document prepared by SAI and the one submitted by Tendulkar, had announced at a press conference in the capital last year that India will target 25 medals at the 2020 Olympics and efforts would be to identify and nurture young talent.
But nothing happened after that and even as countries like Bangladesh and South Africa have started their respective 'Vision 2020' programmes, India is yet to identify the talents. 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.
Even Adille Sumariwala, AFI president, had questioned Sports Minister Jitendra Singh during a recent press conference on Vision 2020 to which the minister could not respond.