Novenber 2021 Kurukshetra Magazine Issue: Sports in Rural India

Kurukshetra Magazine is a vital source of study material for the UPSC IAS exam. It is a monthly magazine that gives information about important government schemes and programmes in various sectors. Kurukshetra is an authentic source of information for the UPSC Exam. Here, we provide the Gist of Kurukshetra, exclusively for the IAS Exam.

Chapter 1: Reinvigorating Sports in Rural Areas

Rural Sports in India: Ancient to Modern

  • Our epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata have many mentions of sports such as archery, wrestling, horse-riding, chariot-racing, etc. Sports such as swimming, running and ball games were popular amongst the students in ancient Indian universities such as Nalanda and Taxila.
  • Rural India is abundant with sports and games which are local and unique in each state. Some of the main rural sports/sporting events in modern times include the following.
    • Mallakhamb – Mallakhamb is an ancient Indian version of gymnastics where a gymnast performs aerial yoga and gymnastic posture atop or on a standing pole.
    • Kalaripayattu – It is an Indian martial arts form from the state of Kerala. Its origin can be traced back to the Sangam period in southern India.
    • Qila Raipur Sports Festival – Also dubbed as India’s Rural Olympics, it is an annual sporting event that promotes local rural sports of Punjab.
    • Yubi Lakpi – It is a form of rugby played with coconut in the northeastern state of Manipur.
    • Himachal Pradesh’s Thoda game is a combination of paintball and archery and is rooted in the Indian epic of Mahabharata.
    • Gatka and Thang-Ta – Gatka originates from Punjab, and this traditional fighting style of the Nihang Sikh Warriors is used both as self-defence as well as a sport. Thang-Ta is a Manipuri martial art.
  • Rural India has been a powerhouse of extraordinary sports talent as a substantial number of the recent Indian Olympic medalists come from rural backgrounds.

Initiatives to promote sports:

  • Various measures are being taken to reinvigorate and institutionalize rural sports.


  • It is a targeted scheme to achieve top results in the Olympic Games. Target Olympic Podium Scheme or TOPS provides financial assistance and other help to athletes in their pursuit of medals in the Olympics and other international sporting events.
  • Top-performing athletes are provided customized training with top coaches at modern and well-equipped sports facilities and institutions.
  • Such athletes are also provided with Rs. 50,000 monthly out-of-pocket expenditure which could be spent on their diet or training.

Khelo India scheme:

  • This scheme aims to develop a pool of talent from the remotest parts of the country.
  • Aimed at mainstreaming sports as a tool for national, economic, community, and individual development, the Khelo India scheme was launched in 2018. It involves the following major aspects.
    • Identification of talent and nurturing and training them
    • Provision of good sports infrastructure and facilities across the country
    • Creation of Centres for Excellence or world-class sports training facilities
    • Organizing of Khelo India Games to provide a platform to the budding talent at the school and university levels.
  • Khelo India has been divided into twelve verticals or themes – Play Field Development, Community Coaching Development, State Level Khelo India Centres, Annual Sports Competition, Talent Search and Development, Utilization and Creation/Up-gradation of sports infrastructure, physical fitness of school children, Sports for Women, Promotion of sports amongst people with disabilities, Sports for Peace and Development and Promotion of rural and indigenous/tribal games.
  • Under the Khelo India programme, one of the verticals, namely, ‘Promotion of rural and indigenous/tribal games’ is dedicated to the development of rural and indigenous and tribal games in the country.

National Education Policy 2020:

  • Sports have been given a place of pride in the recent National Education Policy (NEP 2020). Extra-curricular activity, sports, will be an integral part of the school and college curricula.
  • Existing schemes of the Government of India such as the Samagra Shiksha, Eklavya Model Residential Schools, Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya, etc. will have a special emphasis on promoting sports in the remotest parts of the country.

Sports leagues:

  • The private sector has been playing an important role by organizing leagues and tournaments. Major league-based sports tournaments have acquired much success on the ground and have increased viewership to these sports thus helping change not only the outlook of these games but also helping to bring in the talent pool of sportsmen across various sports.

Chapter 2: Women Participation in Sports

Notable Indian women sportspersons:

Notable Indian women sportspersons

Challenges for Women in Sports:

  • Female participation has been marginalized owing to varied reasons.

Socio-cultural issues:

  • The traditional family responsibilities, cultural and religious barriers have been a major hurdle for women participation in sports.
  • The expectations from the women in society, wherein they are expected to take up a major role in raising children often result in the women sacrificing their sporting career for family.
  • Participation in sports requires a healthy and nutritious diet which is missing in Indian families. Due to limited means, the diet of girls and women is often the last priority in many families.
  • The huge gender pay gap also limits women’s access to basic requirements. The financial disparities and lack of equal remuneration continue to remain a major issue in women’s sports.
  • Women players have often been victims of narrow-minded attitudes.

Access to Facilities and Safety Issues:

  • The lack of security is one of the biggest problems for a female player.

Significance of women participation in sports:

  • Enhancing women participation in sports has the capacity to promote gender equality as envisaged under sustainable development goal number 5 which aims to achieve gender equality and to empower all women and girls.
  • Through sport and physical activity, women and girls also stand to benefit from the constructive impact that sport has on health and psychosocial conditions.
  • Through sport and physical activity, women and girls can be empowered as women participation in sports helps successfully challenge the stereotypes and social roles mostly associated with women. Equal participation of women in sports helps improve self-esteem and self-confidence in women participants.

Chapter 3: Rural India – Sporting Optimism and Hope

Benefits of sports:

  • There are both intrinsic and extrinsic values of sports.
  • Sports serve multiple purposes.
    • Sports helps keep people fit. Sports teaches us to nurture our character and discipline our lives to healthier and more active lifestyles, which becomes means to achieve both mental and physical wellness.
    • A vibrant sports culture can also contribute to the economy. Sporting events and teams are now being regarded as business opportunities as they not only support direct sources of income but also promote tourism, infrastructure, foreign investment and innovations, thus creating a cascading effect down the value chain. Sports can contribute to both revenue as well as employment generation across the country.
    • Sports are not only being taken as a hobby but as a serious career option.
    • There is an inevitable link between the development of rural sports and rural economic development.
    • Sports can help in channelizing the youth’s energy in constructive areas, keeping them away from substance abuse, and pulling the youth out of poverty, etc.
    • Sports, along with providing the opportunities for both being economically content and healthy, also provides youth with opportunities for social interaction and developing networks.
    • The cross-cultural exchanges, which promote mutual respect among the participants provide a huge opportunity for nation-building and strengthen the principles of unity in diversity.
    • Sports cut across identities of gender, class and culture. It brings about a sense of unity between communities. Thus sports can help in maintaining harmony in society. Sports today, is an integral part of any nation’s identity. Sports participation can help improve the social capital of the whole population. Increasing social inclusion is another positive impact of sports.

Chapter 4: Importance of Health and Fitness in Sports

  • Health and fitness are crucial not just for good health and fitness in people’s daily lives but also for the growth and development of the nation.

Governmental initiatives:

  • Several initiatives have been announced to promote a fitter and healthier India. Some of the prominent ones include:
    • Swachh Bharat Abhiyan – While developments in water and sanitation might seem irrelevant to the world of sports, ensuring optimal hygiene and access to sanitation facilities are stepping stones towards creating a healthier future for generations to come. Eliminating open defecation has a significant positive impact on health. Read more on Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in the link.
    • POSHAN Abhiyaan, Integrated Child Development Services and Anaemia Mukt Bharat.
    • Mental health has been included as an important focus area in the National Youth Policy, 2020. Robust mental health plays a vital role in fitness and sports as well.
    • Khelo India
    • Fit India Movement – Fit India initiative seeks to improve fitness levels for all age groups. The focus is on incorporating behaviour change and integrating fitness into the daily regimen of citizens.
    • International Day of Yoga – The government has placed renewed and sustained emphasis on Yoga. Yoga has emerged as a multi-dimensional solution to many health challenges.
    • The government constituted a Ministry of AYUSH to harness traditional learning and systems of medicine.


  • All aspects of health and fitness have to be tackled in a comprehensive manner. Human health and fitness require a holistic approach – one that integrates all aspects of the mind, body and environment.

Chapter 5: ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’: Growth of Indian Tourism Sector

Significance of the Tourism Sector in India:

Significance of the Tourism Sector in India

  • The impact of the tourism sector is multi-dimensional.
    • The tourism sector contributes about 5 percent to Indian GDP.
    • It is a labour-intensive industry that can employ a large number of people.
      • It helps create direct and sustainable employment. 1 out of 10 jobs created in India is from the tourism sector.
      • It also helps create indirect employment in the complementary/derived sectors.
    • It will help alleviate poverty, income and unemployment. Thus it has a significant role in enhancing the re-distribution of income and is a great tool of poverty reduction, bringing down the urban-rural disparity and rich-poor divide, thus resulting in integrated socio-economic development.
    • The sector also helps earn valuable foreign exchange through enhancing service exports.
    • The sector can also help promote arts/handicrafts, increase awareness about the conservation of the environment and cultural heritage.
    • By promoting integrated development of the region/state it can help increase social cohesion and thus contribute towards spreading global peace and happiness.

Potential of tourism sector in India:

  • India’s glorious traditions and rich cultural heritage lay strong foundations for the Indian tourism sector.
  • India has been considered as the ‘Tourist Paradise’ because of its rich flora and fauna, architectural monuments, music, painting, art and crafts, dances, dances, different cultures and languages, customs/traditions and varied festivals.
  • India is a land of diverse climates, weather and tourist destinations of all kinds.

SWAN Analysis for the Tourism Sector in India:

  • ‘SWAN Analysis’ (S=Strengths, W=Weaknesses, A=Achievements and N=Next Steps) of the tourism sector in India.

S = Strengths

  • Tourist destinations have rich variety and diversity.
  • Variety in pricing which offers tourism to all categories of customers (domestic and foreign).
  • Unique experiences and features e.g. Eco-tourism in the North East States, Health Tourism in Kerala, Fun Tourism in Goa, Temple Tourism in South Indian states, etc.

W = Weaknesses

  • Maintenance, cleanliness and hygiene are some of the challenges.
  • Safety and security aspects.
  • Lack of infrastructure.

A = Achievements

  • Progress achieved in attracting and promoting tourism in some destinations.
  • Eco-tourism like in Kerala, Northeast, hilly/mountain areas, etc.

N = Next Steps

  • Design ‘Tourism as an Experience’.
  • Involving the private sector under ‘PPP (Public Private Partnership) Model’ for marketing, strategizing and branding of some tourist destinations/places.
  • Promote niche tourism, cruise, adventure, wellness tourism, medical, golf and polo, film tourism, health tourism, heritage tourism, eco-tourism and rural tourism.
  • Promote sustainable tourism.

Governmental initiatives:

‘Atithi Devo Bhava’:

  • The social awareness campaign launched in 2005, aims to ensure good behaviour towards tourists.
  • The campaign provides training and orientation to police, immigration officers, drivers, guides and other personnel who interact directly with the tourists.
  • The core agenda of the campaign is to make India a preferred tourist nation.

Swadesh Darshan:

  • Swadesh Darshan is an initiative taken by the government to enrich tourist experiences and to enhance opportunities and promote lesser-known destinations. Know more in the link here.


  • National Mission on Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual, Heritage Augmentation Drive (PRASHAD) launched by the Ministry of Tourism has the objective of holistic development of pilgrimage and heritage destinations.
  • Other schemes for tourism development include Overseas Promotion and Publicity including Marketing Development Assistance; Champion Services Sector Development of Iconic Tourist Destination etc.

Chapter 6: Development of Sports in Rural India

Recommendations to improve sports in rural India:

  • The state needs to establish a small but modern sports training infrastructure at the panchayat and district levels.
  • Sports should be mainstreamed with education. Basic sporting infrastructure should be provided at the school and college levels as well.
  • The Haryana model of sports development represents a good strategy for the promotion of sports in rural areas. This could be replicated in other states as well keeping in mind the local factors at play.
    • Haryana has emerged as the Incubator of Sportstars from Rural India. Haryana came out with its Sports Policy in 2006. Haryana has a formal institutional mechanism called ‘Play 4 India’ under which each student in school is encouraged to take upon a sport. Haryana’s tryst with sports at the school level is an ideal recipe to create a continuous supply of highly talented sportspersons of world-class calibre as well as promote a sports culture at scale.
  • Government should substantially invest commensurately in different sports and if needed, the private sector may also be allowed to invest in the sports infrastructure and sportspersons by way of Corporate Social Responsibility.

Chapter 7: Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana-Towards Affordable Housing

Affordable housing:

  • Affordable housing is generally considered to be the provision of houses that meet the needs of households whose incomes and resources are not sufficient to allow them to access appropriate housing in the market.

Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana:

  • The Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana (PMAY) mission aims to ensure affordable housing for all by 2022.
  • The scheme is aimed at providing a pucca house with basic amenities such as piped drinking water, electricity connection, and Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) connection. The minimum size of the PMAY-G house is estimated to be 25 square metres including a dedicated area for hygienic cooking.
  • Beneficiaries are selected using housing deprivation parameters in the Socio-Economic and Caste Census (SECC), 2011 data which is to be verified by the Gram Sabhas.
  • The scheme includes in-situ rehabilitation of existing slum dwellers using land as a resource through private participation; credit linking subsidy for economically weaker sections (EWS) and low-income groups (LIG); affordable housing in partnership with the private or public sector; subsidy for beneficiary-led individual house construction/enhancement for individuals of EWS.


  • Decent housing has been universally accepted as one of the basic needs of individuals, the family and the environment. The PMAY-G aims to provide affordable housing for all.
  • PMAY-G is expected to have strong backward as well as forward linkage with other sectors in the economy.
  • The scheme will help create additional employment and income generation at the rural level.


Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana Challenges

Chapter 8: Revolutionizing Sports Training through Technology

Sports technology:

  • The intersection of sports and technology to track and understand trends and performances as well as help in enhancing the performance of the athlete is known as sports technology or sports tech.
  • Sports Technology uses a combination of several new-age technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (Al), Machine Learning (ML), Internet of Things (loT), virtual and augmented reality, robotics, drones, digitalization, etc.
  • Technology can be used at each stage in the sporting world like broadcasting, fan engagement, state-of-the-art equipment, live performance tracking, etc. and have a significant impact on how athletes practice and compete by using solutions like biomechanical analysis among other things.

Significance of sports technology:

  • The use of technology through slow-motion replays, database storage and retrieval, as well as comparison with others have helped players vastly improve their game. Every part of a player’s body can be assessed and monitored during play for deriving maximum impact.
  • Sports technology can also be used by trainers to help monitor diet, sleep, exercise, energy, etc., which also helps in preventing fatigue and injuries.
  • During practice sessions, players can use virtual reality and augmented reality to practice their moves or drills in a simulated match-like environment. This shall help them for match-practice irrespective of the space, people and weather constraints.
  • Sports technology can help revolutionize the way people experience sports. This can help bring sports closer to the people. Professional sports bodies have adopted new technologies such as sports data analytics, smart stadiums, wearable devices and digital signage to engage fans, and provide smart infrastructures thus taking the whole experience of sports to a different level.
  • The sports tech industry can also act as a significant contributor to the economy.

Sports technology

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