India has a rich history of sports and boasts some of the world's greatest athletes. To produce such athletes a good sports infrastructure is very important. Sports infrastructure in India has come a long way in recent years. The country has a rich sporting culture, and over the years, there have been many initiatives taken by the government and private sector to develop the sports infrastructure. However, there are still challenges that need to be overcome to make sports accessible to all and promote the development of young sporting talent in the country. There are opportunities worth $2.2 Bn available in the Sports Infrastructure Sector.

India houses approximately 100 sports facilities fulfilling international standards of sports infrastructure. In addition, there are government-owned college and university grounds, community centers, sporting facilities and grounds owned by urban local bodies, grounds owned by Resident Welfare Associations, and facilities owned by private entities. 
 The Khelo India scheme, launched in 2018, is a significant initiative taken by the government to develop sporting infrastructure at the grassroots level. The scheme aims to create a sports ecosystem in the country and provide a platform for young athletes to showcase their skills. The scheme provides financial support for training and development, and it has been instrumental in identifying and nurturing sporting talent from different parts of the country. 282 sports infra projects amounting to $1431.25 Mn in past 5 years via the flagship Khelo India Programme. The Sports Authority of India (SAI) is another vital organization responsible for the development of sports infrastructure in the country.

The SAI manages various sports facilities and provides training and coaching to athletes across the country. The organization has set up various regional centers and academies to promote different sports and develop talent at the grassroots level. 
There are also 2 pipelines to support the sports infrastructure. 

1.    National Investment Pipeline(NIP) 
• Over 90 NIP projects for stadiums and sports complexes are underway.
• Sporting projects worth $1.49 Bn have been approved in which the Private sector will have a 21% share in NIP projects’ implementation.
Vishakapatnam Sports City- a NIP project worth US$ 129 Mn will be completed by 1st Aug 2024.

2.    National Monetization Pipeline 
Two National Stadiums and two SAI regional centers for monetization in FY22-25. The indicative monetization value of these assets is $1431.25 Mn.
• The mode of monetization for these would be the operation, management, and development agreement (OMDA) model.
• Private concessionaire gets a 30+30 years grant of OMDA from SAI for an upfront premium, revenue share, and annual fees.

The state governments are also taking proactive measures to develop sports infrastructure in the country. Haryana, for the execution of the Khelo India Youth Games of 2022 spent over $18 Mn on infrastructure. Odisha to host FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in October 2022 and Men’s Hockey World Cup in January 2023 has constructed 89 multi-purpose indoor stadiums in urban areas with an investment of $86.66 Mn.

In recent years, the private sector has also been investing in sports infrastructure in the country. Many private organizations are setting up sports academies and centers to promote sports at the grassroots level. This has not only helped in creating a sports culture but has also generated significant revenue for the industry.

Despite these initiatives, the sports infrastructure in India still faces many challenges. One of the most significant challenges is the lack of maintenance of the existing infrastructure. Many sports facilities are poorly maintained, which makes them unsafe for athletes and visitors. This can discourage people from using these facilities and can impact the development of sports in the country. 
Another challenge is the lack of adequate facilities for different sports. While cricket is the most popular sport in India, there is a need for better facilities for other sports such as football, hockey, and athletics. This will enable athletes to train and compete at the highest level and promote the development of sporting talent in the country. 

In conclusion, the development of sports infrastructure in India has been significant in recent years, and many initiatives have been taken to promote sports at the grassroots level. However, there are still challenges that need to be overcome to make sports accessible to all and promote the development of young sporting talent. The government and private sector need to continue investing in sports infrastructure and ensure that the existing facilities are well maintained. This will create a sporting culture in the country that fosters the development of young talent and promotes the country's sporting image globally.

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