Tendulkar proposes steps to embed sporting culture in India

The Rajya Sabha MP outlines an approach of ‘Invest, Insure, Immortalise’ to provide better value to sport and help ensure tangible benefits to Indians through it.

Sachin Tendulkar was prevented from making his speech in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday.   -  PTI

Sachin Tendulkar has appealed to India’s citizens to develop a ‘sporting culture’ in his plea to relevant policy-makers to take tangible steps towards achieving some relevant goals, in a speech that was scheduled to be made in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday. Tendulkar was prevented to speak by members of the House despite repeated appeals from speaker M. Venkaiah Naidu; the icon subsequently released the speech on Friday to make himself heard.

Tendulkar has proposed an approach of ‘Invest, Insure, Immortalise’, directives to help ensure better value given to sport and sportsmen. He has outlined the considerable benefits to lifestyle of Indians as well as to the economy - he pointed out a United Nations assessment of the impact of non-communicable diseases to the Indian economy from 2012-2030, which is pegged at USD 6.3 trillion. In investing in sports infrastructure - ‘sports cities’, along with smart cities - and encouragement, people of all ages would be pushed towards a healthier lifestyle, he signifies. To this end, Tendulkar has appealed to the Minister for Corporate Affairs Arun Jaitley to ensure a percentage of funds from Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) be kept aside ‘for the development of sports infrastructure.’

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Tendulkar also requested the ministries of Human Resource Development and Sports to work towards modifying the school framework by which ‘sports should be at par with other subjects at school.’

Referring to financial struggles for a number of prominent sportsmen of India, Tendulkar requested the benefits of Central Government Health Scheme be extended to whom he calls ‘our national heroes.’ He says, “I appeal to the Hon’ble Minister of Health & Family Welfare J.P. Naddaji to kindly consider my request on this issue which is in line with the recommendations put forth by the [All India Council of Sports].”

'Right to Play'

Tendulkar has also appealed to relevant officials to tweak the Right to Free and Compulsory Education Bill to include the ‘Right to Play.’ In what is purported as a valid reference towards this conclusion, Tendulkar had referred to ‘freedom to play’ at the start of his speech.

Tendulkar said, “I always loved playing sports and cricket was my life. My father Prof. Ramesh Tendulkar was a poet and a writer. He always supported me and encouraged me to be what I wanted to be in life. The greatest gift I got from him was the freedom to play – the right to play, and I will always be grateful to him.”

Tendulkar, recipient of the Bharat Ratna, was made a member of the Rajya Sabha, or the Upper House of India’s legislative framework, in 2012.