Indian struggle at London Olympics 2012 is about to end and out of the 81 members of strong contingent of Indian athletes, 6 have attained Olympic medals. One may say that India is certainly on the rise as the Indian athletes won 3 medals during the last Olympic meet. However, what is the cost of these five medals and is there really anything to feel proud of these medals?
The Indian Sports Ministry got Rs 1,152 Crores1 for the current session. Sports Ministry have spent Rs 200 Crores2 during the last 10 months to train those 81 athletes for London 2012 Olympic Games. Rs 1,152 Crores for 2 Silver and 4 Bronze Olympic medals is a huge cost especially when the Indian government is continuously drowning the Indian economy under the burden of fiscal deficit and national debt. It should also be considered that according to the same government, any person earning more than Rs32 a day is not poor and yet, 32 percent of Indians are poor3 . While these athletes who have attained success at London Olympics are certainly praiseworthy; yet, are we citizens really interested in offering them our hard earned money? The medal winning athletes will also attain Rs 1 Crore each as a reward from government. It should be noted that government doesn’t create money; rather, it robs us citizens and then spends the money collected through taxes to fulfill its whims. Governmental spending over sports and games is a foolish idea because it is certainly not voluntary; furthermore, there certainly are ways for Sports industry to bloom with purely voluntary investments.
Government Managing Sports is a Scam
Governmental intervention, control and spending over sports and athletic meets bring a lot of inefficiencies and corruption in this industry and Indians have already suffered a huge setback when the Indian government hosted the Commonwealth Games in 2010 in Delhi. It should be noted that nothing has been recovered out of the CWG scam till now and nobody has been actually punished for the great robbery of CWG 20104 .
As a matter of fact, government has nothing to do with sports and games; however, the politicians keep on attaching nationalistic feeling with various sports to attain a chance to further rob Indian tax payers on the name of nationalism and sports. The whole idea of national pride through sports and sportsmen is nothing but a conspiracy of government to increase state intervention through taxes, subsidies, zoning and special zones.
Governmental control over sports is the actual cause of failure of Indian sportsmen in international competitions. While the government spends a huge amount of money for training and practicing of Indian athletes every year through the budget for Indian Sports Ministry, a huge part of this money is wasted through the political and bureaucratic canals of corruption. This is the reason why we lack standard training and practicing facilities in India. As a result of the unavoidable corruption of government and its intervention in sports, we, the tax-payers lose Crores of money while a number of Indians suffer poverty.
Is Governmental Aid Necessary for Promoting Sports and Games?
It should be noted that Indian athletes don’t really need any money picked from the pockets of tax payers as they certainly can attain huge accolades from individuals, business houses, companies and franchises for their success. As for example, the Sahara Group of India announced that every Indian athlete winning a Gold medal in London Olympics 2012 will be awarded another gold medal weighing five kilograms while athletes winning silver and bronze medals will also be awarded 3kg and 2kg gold medals respectively5 .
There are a number of private enterprises which will happily take the responsibility of improving sports culture in India while providing the best possible facilities for the enthusiastic athletes to train themselves. Obviously, they will gain through these investments as they will gain popularity for their brand ambassadors and representative athletes. Vijay Mallya’s Force India Formula One team is an excellent example of success of private enterprises in promoting sports in India. The owner of Kingfisher brand of UB group not only succeeded in increasing Indian participation in Formula One, he also succeeded in hosting the first Indian Grand Prix in Greater Noida in 2011 which was majorly sponsored by a construction company Jaiprakash Associates that has gained a 10 year contract for sponsoring the race.
Obviously, it is not unrealistic to believe that if allowed, Indian conglomerates and business houses will not only support athletes, sportspersons, and teams, they will also manage to attain better results. In addition, individuals like P.T Usha are also successfully serving the purpose of entrepreneurship to encourage sports in India. Usha School of Athletics is not only boosting the sports culture in India, it is also offering a great help and encouragement for young budding talents. Obviously, the government is not really necessary to take control over the sports and the Indian Sports Ministry is just there to cause more problems and to create more opportunities of scams and corruption.
Private enterprises have already showed what they can do for sports through Indian Premium League, a recent phenomenon of cricket while they were also successful when they started the Indian Cricket League which was invalidated later due to political pressures. It should be noted the whole idea of IPL came out of the success of ICL promoted by Zee Entertainment Enterprises privately. Private enterprises have done a lot for promoting hockey in India too by funding the Indian Premiere Hockey League. However, the government insisted on creating a National Sports Federation for field hockey to maintain control over the sport. Government certainly doesn’t like the idea of giving up control over Indian sports.
The success of private enterprises in promoting sports and games in India at a significant pace suggests that there is actually no need of the Indian Sports Ministry as it not only causes huge corruption and scams, it also creates a lethargic environment which is not suitable for Indian sports. Separating sports and state will not only help tax payers, it will also help in reducing poverty and in improving the sports culture in India.
- Rs 1,152 Crores for Indian Sports Ministry in Budget, India Today [↩]
- Rs200 Crores for Training Athletes, Ajay Maken, The Hindu [↩]
- Poverty becomes cruel joke with planning panel’s Rs.32 a day idea, India Today [↩]
- CWG 2010 Scam was political, The Hindu [↩]
- Sahara Group announces extra gold medal weighing 5 kgs to winning Indian athletes, Economic Times [↩]