IAS Gyan



9th June, 2023


Context: The Khelo India Mission has completed five years of its journey and has achieved many milestones in the field of sports development. The mission was launched in 2018 with the vision of making India a sporting nation. It aims to promote sports and fitness among the citizens of India.


  • The mission aims to provide world-class sports infrastructure, coaching and training to budding athletes and to encourage mass participation in sports activities. The mission also supports over 2500 selected athletes in various disciplines through scholarships and mentoring.

Khelo India

  • India is a country with a rich and diverse culture, history and heritage. It is also a country with a large and young population, which has the potential to excel in various fields of endeavour, including sports. However, India has not been able to achieve its full potential in the global sporting arena, due to various challenges such as a lack of infrastructure, awareness, opportunities and support.
  • To address these challenges and to promote sports and fitness among the youth of the country, the Government of India launched a national programme called Khelo India in 2018.
  • Khelo India, which means Play India, is a comprehensive and holistic initiative that aims to identify and nurture sporting talent, provide them with world-class training and facilities, and create a culture of sports and physical activity in India.

Khelo India has several features and components that cater to different aspects and levels of sports development. Some of the key features are:

Khelo India Talent Development Scheme

  • This scheme provides annual financial assistance of Rs. 5 lahks per athlete for eight years to selected potential sportspersons.
  • It covers 14 priority sports disciplines such as athletics, badminton, boxing, football, hockey, shooting, swimming and wrestling.
  • It provides coaching, equipment, medical support and exposure to national and international competitions to the selected athletes.

Khelo India Youth Games

  • These are multi-disciplinary sporting events for under-17 and under-21 athletes from all states and union territories of India.
  • The games are held annually in different venues across the country. The games feature 25 sports disciplines such as archery, basketball, cycling, gymnastics, judo, kabaddi, kho-kho, lawn tennis, table tennis and volleyball.
  • The games aim to provide a platform for young talent to showcase their skills and abilities and to inspire them to pursue sports as a career.

Khelo India University Games

  • These are similar to the Khelo India Youth Games but for university students. The games are held biennially in different universities across the country. The games feature 17 sports disciplines such as chess, cricket, fencing, handball, rugby and weightlifting.
  • It aims to bridge the gap between school and elite-level sports and to encourage the participation of students in sports.

Khelo India School Games

  • These are competitions among schools in various sports disciplines at district, state and national levels.
  • The games are organised by the School Games Federation of India (SGFI) in collaboration with the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.
  • It aims to promote mass participation of school children in sports and to identify talent at an early age.

Khelo India Fitness Assessment Programme

  • This is a programme that assesses the fitness levels of school children using a mobile app called the Khelo India App. The app measures various parameters such as height, weight, body mass index (BMI), flexibility, strength, speed and endurance. The app also provides feedback and suggestions to improve the fitness levels of the children.

Khelo India Pledge

  • This is a pledge that encourages people to take up sports and physical activity as a way of life. The pledge can be taken online through the Khelo India website or app or offline through various events and campaigns. The pledge aims to create awareness and enthusiasm for sports among the masses.

Khelo India Quiz

  • This is a quiz that tests the knowledge of people on various aspects of sports such as history, rules, personalities and achievements. The quiz can be taken online through the Khelo India website or app or offline through various events and campaigns. The quiz aims to educate and inform people about sports and its benefits.

Achievements of Khelo India:

  • 133 new sports infrastructure projects were approved across 27 states/UT at a total sanctioned cost of Rs.826 crore.
  • First Khelo India School Games (KISG) was conducted with the participation of 3,507 athletes.
  • The second edition of the games, i.e. Khelo India Youth Games Maharashtra, 2019, was successfully conducted with the participation of 5,925 athletes.   
  • 2,437 sporting talents across 20 sports disciplines are selected under the talent search and development vertical.
  • A total of 99 academies (State government, Central Government, and private) are accredited for training Khelo India Athletes (KIAs).
  • The first national-level Training of Trainer (TOTs) program for the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) teachers was held and 198 physical education teachers trained are certified as master trainers.
  • A total of 30 regional or state-level TOTs have been conducted, where 1,547 certified regional trainers were trained.
  • Under the ‘Physical fitness of school children' component, 1,168 schools and 23,947 assessors are registered. 2,70,821 student profiles have been created for physical fitness assessment in the Khelo India Mobile App, out of which 92,583 assessments have been made.

The ways Khelo India has transformed the sporting landscape in the country

  • The initiative has successfully been able to draw India’s youth to participate in sports other than cricket. As it stands, a total of 18,744 athletes have participated so far at the Khelo India initiative till now. 
  • The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (MYAS) has established 143 Khelo India district centres across seven states.

Best ever performance at the youth Olympics games

  • The 2018 Youth Olympic Games was India’s most successful display at the Youth Olympics. The country bagged an impressive 13 medals. This included 3 gold, 9 silver and 1 bronze.

Khelo India has several significances and impacts for the country and its people. Some of the key significances are:

Developing a sporting ecosystem

  • It helps in developing a sporting ecosystem in India that can produce world-class athletes and champions. By providing exposure, training, coaching, scholarships and incentives to talented and deserving sportspersons, the programme nurtures their potential and prepares them for national and international competitions.

Enhances the health and fitness levels

  • It enhances the health and fitness levels of the youth and reduces the risk of lifestyle diseases such as obesity, diabetes and hypertension. By encouraging the participation of the masses, especially children and adolescents, in sports and physical activities, the programme promotes a culture of fitness and wellness in society.

Fosters Social Inclusion and national integration

  • It fosters social inclusion and national integration by bringing together people from different regions, backgrounds and cultures through sports. By organising various events and tournaments at different levels, the programme provides a platform for the exchange of ideas, experiences and values among the people. It also instills a sense of pride, patriotism and sportsmanship among the citizens.

Creates employment opportunities

  • It creates employment opportunities and economic benefits for the sports sector and related industries. By boosting the demand and supply of sports goods and services, the programme stimulates the growth and development of the sports industry. It also generates income and livelihood for the people involved in sports such as coaches, trainers, officials, managers, etc.

Boosts the image and prestige of India

  • It boosts the image and prestige of India in the international arena by showcasing its sporting achievements and potential. By participating and performing well in various global events such as the Olympics, Asian Games, Commonwealth Games, etc., the programme enhances the reputation and recognition of India as a sporting nation.

The programme also faces some challenges that need to be addressed to make it more effective and sustainable. Some of these challenges are:

Lack of adequate funding and resources

  • The lack of adequate funding and resources to implement the programme effectively and sustainably. The budgetary allocation for Khelo India has been increasing over the years, but it is still insufficient to meet the growing demand and expectations of the sports sector. Moreover, there are delays and discrepancies in the release and utilization of funds for various activities and schemes under the programme.

Poor quality of sports infrastructure and equipment

  • The poor quality and availability of sports infrastructure and equipment at the grassroots level. Many schools and colleges lack basic facilities such as playgrounds, courts, tracks, gyms, swimming pools, etc. for sports and physical education.
  • The existing infrastructure is often outdated, dilapidated, or inadequate to cater to the needs of different sports disciplines. There is also a shortage of quality equipment and kits for the athletes and coaches.

Low awareness and participation

  • The low awareness and participation of the people, especially in rural areas, in sports and physical activities. Many people in India do not consider sports as a priority or a career option. They are unaware of the benefits of sports for their health, well-being, personality development, and social integration.
  • They also face various socio-cultural barriers such as gender stereotypes, caste discrimination, poverty, and lack of parental support, etc. that prevent them from pursuing their interests and aspirations in sports.

Shortage of qualified and trained coaches

  • The shortage of qualified and trained coaches, trainers, physiotherapists and other support staff for the athletes. There is a huge gap between the demand and supply of human resources for sports in India. Many coaches and trainers are not adequately qualified, experienced, or updated with the latest techniques and methods of coaching. They also lack proper incentives, recognition, and opportunities for their professional growth and development. There is also a dearth of physiotherapists, nutritionists, psychologists, etc. who can provide holistic support and guidance to the athletes.

Issues of doping, corruption, nepotism and politicisation

  • The issues of doping, corruption, nepotism and politicisation in the sports administration and governance. There have been several cases of doping scandals involving Indian athletes in recent years that have tarnished the image and reputation of Indian sports.
  • There are also allegations of corruption, nepotism, favouritism, and interference in the selection, training, funding, and management of athletes and teams by various authorities and agencies involved in sports administration and governance.

These challenges need to be overcome by taking some steps such as:

Increase the budgetary allocation

  • To increase the budgetary allocation and ensure the timely release of funds for the programme. The current budget of Rs 657 crore for 2021-22 is inadequate to meet the growing demands and expectations of the sports sector. Moreover, there have been delays and discrepancies in the disbursement of funds to the beneficiaries, which affects their performance and morale.

Improve the coordination and collaboration

  • To improve the coordination and collaboration among various stakeholders such as central and state governments, sports federations, the private sector, NGOs and media.
  • There is a lack of clarity and consensus on the roles and responsibilities of different agencies involved in the implementation of Khelo India. There is also a need to create a platform for regular dialogue and feedback among them to ensure effective monitoring and evaluation of the programme.

Upgrade the existing sports infrastructure

  • To upgrade the existing sports infrastructure and create new ones as per international standards and norms. There is a huge gap between the demand and supply of sports facilities and equipment in the country. Many of the existing infrastructures are outdated, dilapidated or inaccessible.
  • There is a need to invest more in creating state-of-the-art sports complexes, stadiums, academies, training centres and hostels for athletes.

Expand the reach and coverage

  • To expand the reach and coverage of the programme to all parts of the country, especially in remote and backward areas. Khelo India has been largely concentrated in urban and semi-urban areas, leaving out a large section of the population that lives in rural and tribal areas.
  • There is a need to make sports more inclusive and accessible for everyone, irrespective of their gender, caste, religion, region or socio-economic status.

Enhance the quality and quantity of human resources

  • To enhance the quality and quantity of human resources for sports by providing incentives, recognition and opportunities for them. There is a shortage of qualified and experienced coaches, trainers, physiotherapists, nutritionists, psychologists and other support staff for sports in India.
  • There is also a lack of motivation and retention among them due to low salaries, poor working conditions and lack of career prospects. There is a need to attract, train and retain more human resources for sports by offering them attractive remuneration, recognition and opportunities for growth.

Adopt a zero-tolerance policy

  • To adopt a zero-tolerance policy towards any malpractices or irregularities in the sports sector and ensure transparency and accountability in it’s functioning. There have been instances of corruption, nepotism, favouritism, doping, match-fixing and other unethical practices in the sports sector that have tarnished its image and credibility.
  • There is a need to establish a robust mechanism for the prevention, detection and punishment of such malpractices and irregularities and ensure that justice is done for the victims.


  • The Khelo India Mission is a commendable effort by the government to transform India into a sporting powerhouse. It has created a platform for young talent to showcase their skills and achieve their dreams. It has also instilled a sense of pride and patriotism among the citizens. However, there is still a long way to go before India can emerge as a global leader in sports. The mission needs to overcome the existing challenges and adopt a holistic approach towards sports development. It also needs to involve all sections of society and create a supportive environment for sports culture to flourish India in international sports platform.