'2-day TURF 2018 - 8th Global Sports Summit', International Convention on Business of Sports' gets underway
o Talent hunt and provision of soft infrastructure vital: FICCI-IISM report
o 'FICCI-Go Play' report suggests specific sports-related expenses be offset against the 2% CSR regulation
NEW DELHI, 25 October 2018. Private sector investment in the development of sports in the country could receive a major fillip if policy level adjustments were undertaken to encourage CSR spending in sports. Towards this end, specific sports-related expenditures could be offset against the 2% CSR regulation along with rationalisation of taxes.
Mr Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, Government of Indiatoday launched the 'FICCI-Go Play' report on 'The Purposeful Corporate ' CSR & Sports' at 'TURF 2018 - 8th Global Sports Summit', International Convention on Business of Sports' organised by FICCI and the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.
Mr Choubey said it was imperative for the country to adopt a constructive approach towards encouraging the youth in taking to sports in order to inculcate a sense of discipline and team spirit. He emphasised the crucial importance of physical education to create a healthier and fitter society.
Mr Onkar Kedia, Special Director General, Sports Authority of India (SAI), said that the demand for sports equipment in the country was on the rise and there was a need to produce them indigenously. SAI, he said, had included a lot of sports items on the Government e-Marketplace (GeM) and invited suppliers and vendors to register on the portal so that government agencies could source their requirements online.
FICCI-Go Play report suggests 4-point agenda to align CSR with sports
The FICCI-Go Play report calls for thematic alignment of CSR with sports such that women's empowerment and sports development becomes a possibility or skills development and sports coaching become aligned. It suggests the launch of a nation-wide sports promotion campaign such as the 'Swachh Bharat Abhiyan' to promote investment under CSR in grassroots sports Development.
It recommends expansion of the scope of Schedule VII of the Companies Act, 2013 to enable specific sports-related expenditures to be offset against the 2% CSR regulation. These expenditures could relate to salaries paid to athletes and coaching staff employed, community-level sports events and tax breaks for contributions to grass root sport development through national sports federations. It also suggests creation of a Corporate CSR Leader board to track sports CSR spending and provide visibility and incentivise inter-corporate competition.
The report suggest rationalisation of taxes and provision of tax waivers/GST exemptions on sporting equipment, coaching services, sponsorship amounts and ticket prices for all non-cricket sporting events. While this could potentially create a conflict with the current tax laws since according to CSR rules, the input/support to CSR cannot be converted into tangible financial benefits to a company. Nevertheless, the report argues that this is a pain point that needs to be reviewed and addressed by the policy makers.
Treat sports on par with academics: FICCI-IISM Report
Minister Choubey also released the FICCI-IISM report on 'Sports Development & Youth Engagement'.
The report states that pparents need to be encouraged to support sports-oriented children. This would be the first step towards the evolution of a sporting culture in a country like India, where the family is the premier institution.
Some of the key initiatives that the government could embark upon are:
Introduce sports in school/university curricula: Currently, most of the schools, colleges and universities focus only on the academic development of children. The government can mandate these academic institutions to introduce physical education and participation in sports as a part of the curricula to provide every student with an exposure to sports. Sports could be treated on par with academics by introducing it as a subject with equal weightage in examinations. Initiatives have already been taken with bodies like Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE), state boards and All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE). Government needs to ensure effective implementation of the framework and policy. SPORTS DEVELOPMENT AND YOUTH ENGAGEMENT 35
Partner with foreign counterparts: The government can partner with foreign governments to enable transfer of knowledge, which is mutually helpful. Special programs can be arranged to introduce Indian sportspersons to world-class training in sports in which we have the potential to excel but are lacking in terms of exposure. For example, India is referred to as the 'sleeping giant' of football; the country's budding footballers could gain a lot from an inclusive long-term development programme.
The key initiatives which the private for-profit and non-profit entities can undertake are:
Setting up leagues: The IPL has had a cascading effect. In the past two to three years, India has observed a surge in the number of leagues in different sports, including football, kabaddi, wrestling, badminton, table tennis and hockey. More league-based tournaments for other sports in which we have the talent to do well (for example, archery, boxing and shooting) will only encourage more people to look at sports as a viable career option.
Organise more inter-school tournaments to identify talent: Several corporates, non-profit organisations and professional leagues in the country are involved in tapping young sporting talent through small-scale tournaments and training programmes. However, these programmes are not accessible to the majority, at the moment. More tournaments need to be organised in the interiors and rural areas as well, where a lot of talent is waiting to be identified.
Provide 'soft infrastructure': In accumulation to the physical infrastructure, sportspersons also need 'soft infrastructure' for their growth; non-profit organizations can go a long way in mentoring talented sportspersons through mentorship programs. They can also help in terms of training the coaches. 36 SPORTS DEVELOPMENT AND YOUTH ENGAGEMENT
For India to shine on the international sporting map, there is no other better option than focusing on youth engagement. The right support at the right time is the need of the hour. More opportunities, professional and scientific training and coaching techniques and a sound support structure are needed. It is time to revamp policies and strategies - the Government has to join forces with the private sector. This will take India closer to becoming a sporting superpower.
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