Sports and physical education in general have received a fillip under the current dispensation. Ancient yet eternally relevant practices like yoga have resurfaced into public consciousness due to a concerted push by the present government. The prime minister’s endorsement of the FIT-India campaign has resonated with the masses willing to sweat for a sturdier frame in which to repose a calmer interior. This awakening has been accompanied by the blooming of professional leagues in various sports which have created new jobs(like content and event management) revolving around the carnival. Allied to this are fledgling schemes like TOP run by Sports Authority of India(SAI) which intend to put Indians on the podium during the congregation of sporting excellence i.e. the Olympics.
Despite these welcome changes India is neither physically fit nor excelling in sports. A huge chunk of our population is suffering from NonCommunicable(lifestyle related) Diseases. These ailments have worsened the impact of COVID19 and need to be prevented rather than managed. They have also hampered our chances of winning accolades at multi-national events, unlike comparable competitors like China. The root of the problem lies in the devaluing of sports and physical education right from the formative years of our children. Lack of space within schools and shortage of requisite facilities like equipments restricts them from reveling on the field. The absence of guidance under trained eyes dulls their motor and sensory skills which are vital for improving their learning outcomes in school. When this reality collides with an unrelenting pressure to excel in academics, the sport within them wilts and dies.
This is unfortunate because adopting a healthy lifestyle will increase both the attendance and retention of children within the education system. They will feel fitter, suffer from fewer illnesses, and attending school will no longer be a chore. The state will also save expenses on healthcare which it can plough into schemes for meeting nutritional requirements of our children. Besides sports and physical education helps students inculcate intangible qualities like discipline and persistence. This helps them to channelize their energy in a productive manner while opening avenues for picking a profession. It also promotes social cohesion by dismantling hierarchies between teachers and students and amongst students themselves.
The national education policy 2020 realizes the significance of integrating sports with classroom education for physical, psychological and social well-being of children. It is in this backdrop that we will seek synergies between the new policy, and the schemes of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports to dispatch the problems highlighted above.
Creation and management of school complexes for peaceful sharing of resources and expertise:- The emphasis of the Right to Education Act on universal access to primary education led to construction of schools on a rapid scale. Since the focus was on access, each school enrolled few students, had inadequate teachers and minimal facilities which impaired learning. Acknowledging this malaise the new policy advocates for creation of school complexes comprising of one secondary school and others providing elementary education within a radius of 5-10 miles.
These units lying within a complex will be encouraged to compete with each other. The complexes lying in close proximity to each other can exchange ideas for their mutual betterment. The principals and teachers of the school complex will have to devise their own development plan(DP) with the assistance of the School Complex Management Committee(SCMC). These DPs can stress on accessibility to and quality of vocational and physical education being imparted within their premises.
The Directorate of School Education(DSE) will provide resources (financial, human, physical, etc.) necessary to achieve the SCDPs in both the shortterm (one-year) and longterm (3-5 years).
To ensure that all schools follow certain minimal professional and quality standards, States/UTs will set up an independent, state-wide, body called the State School Standards Authority (SSSA). The SSSA will establish a minimal set of standards based on basic parameters (namely, safety, security, basic infrastructure, number of teachers across subjects and grades, financial probity, and sound processes of governance), which shall be followed by all schools. The framework for these parameters will be created by the State Council of Education Research and Training(SCERT) in consultation with various stakeholders, especially teachers and schools.
Bearing in mind the shortage of playing space within schools, each state and district will form a playground authority analogous to the National Playground Federation of India. All three organizations will work together for optimal utilization of the playgrounds within their domains through Geographical Information System(GIS) mapping. The policy also encourages states to build or upgrade existing community centers called “Bal Bhavans” as part of school complexes. These venues will serve as spaces where children can gather to indulge in creative pursuits, which include playing games and sports.
The policy also understands that under-nourished and enervated children can’t perform tasks that exert massive cognitive load on their faculties. Thus it suggests provisioning of an energizing breakfast before the mid-day meal. These ‘simple but nutritious meal(like groundnuts/chana mixed with jaggery and/or local fruits)’ will let student immerse themselves into both lectures and playful leisure.
Identification and nurturing of young talent through periodic competitions: Organizing Khelo India School Games at multiple levels(like block, district and state) for various agegroups ranging from three to eighteen during vacations can encourage maximum participation from students. They can present a hotbed for professionals from SAI to scout, pluck and groom talent in priority sports. Those selected can receive scholarships and mentoring from coaches accredited with National Institute of Sports in Patiala. The students who dropped out to pursue a career in sports can resume their schooling under the National Open Schooling system run by NIOS, MHRD as part of the Open and Distancing Learning initiatives under the education policy. Further the new 360 degree progress card mooted under the policy, to continuously track the overall development of children in school, should also note their potential to excel in sports.
A lot of importance has been placed on languages within the policy. The discovery, recording and promotion of indigenous sports can be construed as a dialectical form of expression within the complexes. This initiative can be overseen by the Indigenous Games Management Authority in collaboration with private philanthropies (embedded in these localities) serving as indigenous sports development organizations. As suggested under the policy the school complexes can also hire ‘local eminent persons or experts as master instructors’ who can introduce indigenous games to a new crop of students.
The funding for these events can be ensured through creation of a State Sports Development Fund(SSDF) by the respective states, which will be analogous to the National Sports Development Fund. The complexes within a specified geographical area sending maximum participants to intra-district/ intra-state/ inter-state competitions can be rewarded with additional grants by declaring that space as a Special Sports Zone. Further companies can pour their Corporate Social Responsibility funds into events which occur near their premises or which match their ethos. Members of Parliament can be encouraged to apportion a part of their MPLAD funds for developing infrastructure for these events. A matching grant can then be raised by the MYAS to augment the amount. Finally Socio-Economically Disadvantaged( SEDG) and gender inclusion funds proposed under the policy should boost the participation and performance of these marginalized groups in sporting activities.
Regular training and assessment of physical education(PE) teachers within school complexes: According to the policy all teachers will be appointed after finishing a four-year professional Bachelor of Education degree. Their coursework for the degree should have modules on physical education and sports. The National Professional Standards for Teachers which will specify the requirements for recruitment and appraisal of PE instructors, can be developed by taking cues from PINDICS designed by NCERT. Those deemed meritorious can be encouraged to become master trainers(for a specific sport) within their respective districts. They will attend orientation programs and online courses in various disciplines like sports science, medicine and management, which can be anchored by the Human Performance Lab run by MYAS. These courses can also be supported The Tech Support and Capacity Building Services and Funds(TSCBSF) under Khelo India scheme. Besides one Higher Educational Institution(HEI) in each district can impart training to teachers (including PEs) so that they can incorporate lessons from sports within their pedagogy. These initiatives should form the backbone of the Teacher Development Part(TDP) to be prepared as part of the SCDPs.
Swami Vivekanand had once remarked that one can learn more from playing football than by reading the Gita. Drawing on his vision, these steps can broaden India’s shoulders on her field, her people leaning on each other while walking towards a future more fertile than their imaginations.
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On PFI ban, Lalu Yadav says ‘RSS should be banned as well’
The national president of the Rashtriya Janta Dal (RJD) and a former chief minister of Bihar, Lalu Prasad Yadav, responded to the central government’s move to outlaw the Popular Front of India (PFI) by saying that the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) should also be banned.
“PFI is being investigated. All organisations like PFI, including RSS, should be banned and an investigation should be done,” said Prasad after filing his nomination papers for the post of national president.
Prasad claimed that Muslim organisations were being targeted by the government.
First of all, ban the RSS. It is a worse organisation than that. If you get anything, then take action,” he said.
He attacked the Modi government, saying the situation in the country has become worse due to unemployment and inflation.
“Efforts are being made to spread bigotry. Such a government has to be overthrown,” he said.
The JD (U), a partner of the RJD alliance, also questioned the PFI ban.
Party leader Ghulam Rasool Balyawi said, “Today in the country, only one party is giving the certificate of loyalty and branding people as traitors.”
“Does anybody know the source of funding for RSS?” he asked.
Media and Entertainment sector should grow to more than 100 billion dollars by year 2030: Apurva Chandra
The Union Secretary for Information and Broadcasting Apurva Chandra has exhorted the media and entertainment industry to set a target of growing the industry to more than 100 billion dollars by the year 2030. “India will be a 10 trillion dollar economy in the next 10 years, we should target that the media and entertainment sector should grow to more than 100 billion dollars by 2030. The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting will do whatever it takes to support the M&E sector and help it grow.” The Secretary was addressing the inaugural session of FICCI Frames Fast Track 2022 in Mumbai today, September 27, 2022.
The Secretary announced that Invest India is going to be leveraged in order to bring in higher foreign investment into India in the film sector. “The Ministry has merged various film units under one; NFDC based in Mumbai is going to be the hub of the cinematic arm of the government. With this, we want to revamp the Film Facilitation Office. We are going to hand this over to Invest India, the main investment arm created by the government under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to attract industry to India. More than 100 billion dollars of FDI is coming to India this year. We want to leverage Invest India to bring in foreign investment, we will reach out to foreign filmmakers to come to India.”
The Secretary informed that the government will work with states to facilitate and promote film shooting in India. “Recently at Cannes Film Fesival, we announced Incentive Scheme for Audio-Visual Co-production and Incentive Scheme for Shooting of Foreign Films in India. With incentives given by states too, it becomes a viable and attractive package for filmmakers.”
The Secretary announced that the Government of India will work with the states and formulate a Model Theatre Policy. “Over the past 5-6 years, the number of theatres has been on a decline. We need to reverse this trend. We will assign the Film Facilitation Office to work with Invest India to come up with a single-window portal for opening theatres, so that more and more theatres can come up and the public gets more avenues to watch the magic of films in theatres. We will also work with the states to create a Model Theatre Policy, so that the states can adopt and work on the same.”
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Conference on eco-alternatives to banned single use plastics and air quality management
A Conference of startups and innovators working on eco-alternatives to banned single use plastics and air quality management was inaugurated on 27th September 2022 at Chennai Trade Centre, Chennai, by Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change and Consumer Affairs, Government of India in the august presence of Siva V Meyyanathan, Minister of Environment, Climate Change, Youth Welfare and Sports Development, Government of Tamil Nadu. The Startup Conference has been jointly organized by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India, and Government of Tamil Nadu.
Startups and innovators have been involved in developing solutions for many pressing environmental challenges including in the development of eco-alternatives to banned single use plastics and air quality management.
Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change and Consumer Affairs highlighted that availability of alternatives to banned single use plastic items is extremely important. The Startups and innovators have taken up this challenge and developed eco-alternatives. One Startup has made packaging material from rice stubble. The innovation not only addressed plastic pollution but will also help in reducing the pollution caused by burning of rice stubble. Another startup has developed flexible packaging material from sea weeds. He highlighted that the startups and innovators are not only providing solutions to environmental problems but also assisting in economic development of the country. The Government of India is giving focus on supporting innovators and startups through various schemes of the Government such as Startup India Mission.
Many startups and innovators from across the country working in the area alternatives to banned single use plastic items and air quality management are participating in the Startup Conference. Representatives from concerned central Ministries involved in supporting innovation, startups, and MSMEs and banks who are key in mobilizing finances for startups and manufacturers are participating in the Expo. Representatives from State Governments, State Pollution Control Boards are participating in the Startup Conference.
The Conference of Startups will provide a platform for engagement and exchange views amongst innovators and institutions, Government Departments supporting startup ecosystems in the country and banks, on steps taken for scaling up innovations and supporting startups.
The Conference will have experience sharing sessions of startups working in the field of alternatives to banned single use plastics and startups working in the area of air quality management.
A separate session on role of financial institutions in scaling up startups has also been organized representatives of Startup India Mission, banks and Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium enterprises has also been organized.
The Minister mentioned that the strategy adopted by the Government to tackle unmanaged and littered plastic waste has two pillars to ban single use plastic items which have high littering potential and low utility, and implementation of extended producer responsibility on plastic packaging. Promotion of innovation and startups for elimination of single use plastics will help us address the problem of littered and unmanaged plastic waste in the country.
497 Railway stations made Divyangjan friendly by providing either lifts or escalators
s a part of ‘Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan’, to provide ease of movement for Divyangjans, aged and children on railway platforms, Indian Railways is installing lifts and escalators at railway stations across the country. So far, there are 497 stations where either lifts or escalators have been provided.
Escalators:- As per policy, normally Railways are providing escalators at State Capitals, Cities having population more than 10 Lakh or stations having footfall more than 25000 per day.
So far, 1090 Escalators at 339 stations have been provided upto Aug’2022. Yearwise position of provision of Escalators is as under:-
Lifts:- As per policy, GM/Zonal Railways are empowered to select stations/platforms for provision of Lift considering footfall, constraints of space etc.
So far, 981 Lifts at 400 stations have been provided upto Aug.’2022. Yearwise position of provision of Lifts is as under:-Indian Railways has been consistently trying to improve passenger amenities at various stations. Provision of escalators and Lifts at the railway platforms is a part of this and also a necessity in view of the ever increasing passenger volumes. Such facility would facilitate improvement at exit/entry of passengers and is a further step to improve passenger safety as well.
Prime Minister attends State Funeral of former Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe
Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended the State Funeral of former Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe at the Nippon Budokan, Tokyo. Representatives from over 100 countries, including more than 20 Heads of State / Government participated in the State Funeral.
Prime Minister honoured the memory of former PM Abe, who he considered a dear friend and a great champion of India-Japan partnership.
Following the State Funeral, Prime Minister had a private meeting with Mrs. Akie Abe, spouse of Late PM Abe, at the Akasaka Palace. Prime Minister Modi conveyed his heartfelt condolences to Mrs. Abe. He recalled his fond friendship and the significant contribution made by former PM Abe in taking India-Japan relationship to new heights. Prime Minister also had a brief interaction thereafter with Prime Minister Kishida to reiterate his condolences.
Amit Shah lays foundation stone of 750 bedded hospital in Gujarat
The Union Home and Cooperation Minister, Amit Shah today inaugurated the 150-bedded ESIC Hospital and laid the foundation stone for the 750 bedded Adarsh Multi-specialty Hospital of Umiya Mata K.P Educational Trust in Kalol, Gujarat. Chief Minister of Gujarat, Shri Bhupendra Patel, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Shri Mansukh Mandaviya, Union Minister of Labour and Employment, Shri Bhupendra Yadav and Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Shri Rameshwar Teli were also present on the occasion.
In his address, Amit Shah said today the bhoomipujan is taking place for two big hospitals in Kalol. He said from these hospitals, Kalol tehsil and all the citizens of the city would receive good treatment facilities. Shri Shah said 35 percent poor patients would receive free health care in the hospital being built by Umiya Mataji Kadwa Patidar Trust. Shri Shah said under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and under the guidance of Union Labour Minister Shri Bhupendra Yadav, the Employee State Insurance Scheme has been revived and workers across the country are receiving its benefits. He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given the Right to health to every person of the country, especially the poor. Under the Pradhan Mantri Ayushman Yojana, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has provided free health facilities up to Rs. 5 lakh to 60 crore poor persons.
The Union Home Minister said Ayushman Health Infrastructure Mission worth Rs. 64,000 crore is the first such big scheme for the poor. Under this scheme, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has provided 35,000 new beds for critical care in more than 600 districts. The Government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also started Integrated Public Health Laboratories in 730 districts and research centers with an allocation of Rs. 1,600 crore for different major diseases.
Amit Shah said there were only 387 medical colleges in the country in 2013-14 and Prime Minister Narendra Modi increased their number to 596 in 2021-22. The Government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi increased the number of MBBS seats from 51,000 to 89,000. The Post Graduate seats have also been increased from 31,000 to 60,000. Apart from this, 10 new AIIMS have been started, 75 new medical colleges have been approved, and there are plans to set up 22 more AIIMS.
Amit Shah said Gujarat has also made great progress on parameters of maternal mortality, infant mortality and institutional delivery as compared to the figures of 2018. He said it is very difficult to improve the maternal mortality rate and infant mortality rate and in institutional delivery, 96 out of 100 deliveries take place in the hospital today. Shri Shah said Gujarat has also made excellent progress in the sex ratio. He said a special campaign is being run for tuberculosis and cancer, under which these diseases can be diagnosed at an early stage. In two tehsils of Gandhinagar district, Gandhinagar and Kalol, cancer screening has been completed in about 80 percent of the rural areas.
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