Khelo India Programme

Khelo India Programme

Khelo India Programme


  • India has the largest youth population in the world, with approximately 65% of its population being under the age of 35.
  • The youth, aged between 15-29 years, make up 27.5% of the population and represent a dynamic and vibrant segment.
  • To encourage mass participation in sports and ensure effective implementation, the existing schemes of Rajiv Gandhi Khel Abhiyan (RGKA), Urban Sports Infrastructure Scheme (USIS), and National Sports Talent Search Scheme (NSTSS) were proposed to be merged into a single scheme called Khelo India Programme: National Programme for Development of Sports.


  • Khelo India Programme is a scheme envisioned by Prime Minister in 2017-18 to give a platform to grassroots athletes and build sports infrastructure across India, resulting in turning India into a sporting nation.
  • The Khelo India Scheme is the flagship Central Sector Scheme of the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports.
  • To achieve the twin objectives of mass participation and promotion of excellence in sports, the Government has decided to continue the Scheme of “Khelo India – National Programme for Development of Sports” over the 15th Finance Commission Cycle (2021-22 to 2025-26) at an outlay of Rs 3165.50 crore.

Components of the Programme

  • It has been divided into following verticals:
    • State Level Khelo India Centres
    • Annual Sports Competition
    • Talent Search and Development
    • Utilization and Creation/Upgradation of Sports
    • Support to National/ Regional/State Sports Academics
    • Physical fitness of school children
    • Sports for Women
    • Promotion of Sports amongst people with disabilities
    • Sports for Peace and Development
    • Promotion of rural and indigenous/ tribal games
  • The components of the Scheme have been rearranged and rationalized by merging/subsuming some of the similar components with the larger ones, thus condensing the existing components into following five components:
    • Creation and Upgradation of Sports Infrastructure
    • Sports Competitions and Talent Development
    • Khelo India Centres and Sports Academies
    • Fit India Movement
    • Promotion of Inclusiveness through Sports
  • Khelo India Winter Games have been included under the ‘Sports Competitions and Talent Development’ component. The Fit India Movement has been introduced as a separate and dedicated component.

Achievements of the Programme

  • Various Events Organized Under the Scheme: From 2017 to 2021, three editions of Khelo India School and Youth Games, one edition of KIUG and two editions of Khelo India Winter Games have been hosted, giving talented young sportspersons a chance to win their way to a Khelo India Scholarship and be trained for higher levels of competition by the best coaches and in state-of-the-art sporting complexes.
  • Mass Participation of Athletes: The Games have seen a participation of over 20,000 athletes, with close to 3,000 athletes identified as Khelo India Athletes (KIAs) who are currently training at Khelo India Academies, revamped Sports Authority of India (SAI) Centers, and are given an Out-of-Pocket Allowance of ₹10,000 per month, besides being supported for training, equipment, diet and education.
  • Infrastructure Upgradation and Fund: Grants-in-aid have also been given for construction as well as upgradation of sports infrastructure projects under the “Utilization and Creation/Upgradation of Sports Infrastructure” vertical of the Khelo India Scheme.
  • Fund is allocated and released scheme wise and not state or sport wise.
  • Creating Elite Sportspersons: There are several Khelo India athletes who have been inducted in the elite Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) over the years based on their performance and are today making the country proud in multiple international competitions.
  • Financial Assistance to Players: Talented players identified in priority sports disciplines at various levels by the High-Powered Committee will be provided annual financial assistance of INR 5 lakh per annum for 8 years.
  • Spillover Effect/Psychological Effect: The programme has impacted Sports Authorities and schools in India through annual National Sports competitions and support for Sports training facilities.
  • Promotion to Indigenous Sports: Khelo India initiative focuses on promoting indigenous sports in every district of India. Some of them are GatkaKalaripayattuThang-Taand Mallakhamba.
  • Promotion to Traditional Sports: Traditional games are becoming more popular, with many people taking them up and coaches and gurus emerging to support them, offering the potential for them to become global like yogasana.
  • Inculcating Sense of Fitness in the Country: Fit India movement is an essential aspect of Kelo India, which focuses on promoting fitness among the masses. This includes the Fit India mobile app, which helps individuals track their fitness goals, provides dietary guidance and promotes a healthy lifestyle.
  • Special Focus on the Girl’s Participation in Games: Khelo India games are being held throughout the year with a special focus on girl athlete more than 1.25 lakh girls have participated in these leagues to ensure Sports infrastructure availability in remote corners of India.

Challenges of the Programme

  • Lack of Supporting Infrastructure: Many schools, colleges and universities do not have adequate facilities for sports such as playgrounds, equipment, coaches and trainers. This limits the participation and performance of young athletes.
  • Absence of Encouragement to Young People: Many parents, teachers and society do not value sports as a career option or a means of holistic development. They often discourage children from pursuing sports and prefer academic excellence.
  • Lack of an Organised System: The process of identifying and nurturing talented sportspersons is complex and lengthy. It involves multiple stages of trials, assessments and selections by different agencies. There is a risk of favoritism, regionalism and corruption in the selection process.
  • Gender Bias Against Girls: Girls face many social and cultural barriers to participate in sports such as safety issues, lack of mobility, lack of family support, lack of role models and stereotypes.
  • Lack of Remuneration and Job Security: Many sportspersons do not get adequate financial support or incentives to pursue their careers in sports. They also face uncertainty and insecurity about their future prospects after retirement from sports.
  • Administrative Issues in Absence of Codified Rules: The implementation of the scheme is hampered by various administrative bottlenecks such as delays in fund release, lack of coordination among stakeholders, lack of monitoring and evaluation mechanisms, lack of accountability and grievance redressal mechanisms.
  • The absence of an Internal Complaint Committee at various sporting bodies sometimes raises questions about the security of female athletes from sexual abuse.

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