Telangana to prepare a comprehensive sports policy, with special focus on promoting sports in rural areas

Published : January 12, 2022 14:24 IST

K.T. Rama Rao (right) presents a memento to Malika Handa, an international chess champion, in Hyderabad on January 10. Photo: PTI

In a move widely welcomed, the K. Chandrashekar Rao government in Telangana has decided to formulate a comprehensive sports policy for the State, with a special focus on creating/expanding sports infrastructure in rural areas.

The Telangana government has already constituted and tasked a Cabinet sub-committee to come up with a “Telangana Sports Policy” document. The panel, comprising K.T. Rama Rao, Minister for Urban Development, Industries and Commerce, and Information Technology, V. Srinivas Goud, Sports Minister, P. Sabita Reddy, Education Minister, and Errabelli Dayakar Rao, Panchayat Raj Minister, held a meeting on January 11 and is on the verge of submitting its report to the State Cabinet for approval.

Said Rama Rao after the Cabinet sub-committee meeting: “In Hyderabad, the majority of schools have no playgrounds. Children are crammed into classrooms like birds in poultry farms. How can we expect to produce sportspersons from these educational institutions? There is a need to create awareness on the importance of sports and games from village level to city level.”

Praising the “Odisha government’s model” for sports development, Rama Rao said that Telangana’s sports policy will have a special focus on enhancing sports infrastructure in panchayats and municipalities by constructing stadia and opening open-air gyms in the villages. The Minister is keen on establishing a “mandatory sports budget” in the Department of Panchayat Raj and Rural Development similar to the State’s “green budget” that was established to promote green cover in the State. He also called on corporates to get involved in sports activities.

Said Rama Rao: “To produce sportspersons from rural areas, we should ensure that sporting kits should reach rural youth. Setting up of sports grounds in rural areas by using MGNREGA [Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act] funds should be considered. We should also consider making sports mandatory in all schools in Telangana. If needed, we should devise a separate course to promote sports.”

Touching on the topic of politicians “controlling” sports federations and associations, Rama Rao said that these sports bodies had become “rehabilitation centres” for several politicians. Said Rama Rao: “I feel there should not be any political interference in sports bodies and associations. I will also resign from my post in a sports association.” He is currently the president of the Telangana Badminton Association.

He asked sports bodies to work and coordinate with the government to promote and develop sports in Telangana. Said the minister: “We should take a district as a unit to hold these coordination meetings, and they should be under the chairmanship of the respective District Collectors.”

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