In a move to identify and groom young sporting talent, the Union cabinet on 20 September 2017 approved a revamped Khelo India (Play India) scheme under which 1,000 selected athletes will receive an annual scholarship of Rs500,000 each for eight years. The scheme, which would cost the government Rs1,756 crore between 2017-18 and 2019-20, will also promote 20 universities across India as hubs of sporting excellence.
The revamped Khelo India programme would impact the entire sports ecosystem, including infrastructure, community sports, talent identification, coaching for excellence, competition structure and sports economy. Sports schemes were focused on building infrastructure such as stadiums. However, the new scheme will focus on nurturing talent and connecting rural India to global games, sports minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore said. Companies could also fund the Khelo India scheme under corporate social responsibility.
The increase in daily allowance is to account for inflation as rates have not been revised since 2012. An official statement said the revised norms will cost the centre Rs2,267 crore in additional expenses for three years starting 2017-18. The cabinet also approved a proposal to transfer three India Tourism Development Corp. hotels to the state governments of Rajasthan, Karnataka and Arunachal Pradesh. In another decision, the cabinet approved the merger of 17 government presses into five units which will be modernized by monetizing their surplus land.