Govt will use AI to pick future sports stars, says Rajyavardhan Rathore
At a time when millions of Indians are glued to TV screens for the FIFA World Cup, Wimbledon and the Men in Blue touring England, the government has announced that it will use artificial intelligence to spot young sporting talent in the country with eyes on the Olympic events in 2024 and 2028.
Union minister of state for youth affairs and sports (independent charge) Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore said on Tuesday that all state governments have partnered with the Centre to create a database of students and introduce them to sports based on their "natural abilities" and not just skills acquired through the process of training.
He was speaking at the 4th Mail Today Tourism Summit, which also saw the participation of union ministers Jayant Sinha and Dr Mahesh Sharma, BJP MP Manoj Tiwari, Railway Board chairman Ashwani Lohani, noted actor and director Nandita Das as well as a host of bureaucrats and delegates from the hospitality, film, food and tourism sectors.
Rathore said the government will provide the selected sporting talents with scholarship of Rs 5 lakh annually to ensure all-round development of their skills.
"We are creating an app where all state governments will be our partners. We intend to create a database of nearly 3 crore young children in the age group of 5 to 18 years. On the basis of detailed tests, they will be further shortlisted to 20,000 and ultimately 5,000 students will be selected after DNA test, IQ test and sports skill tests. These talents will be further trained as per their abilities in different sports," the minister said.
According to Rathore, the idea is to ensure that young talents are not just tested by the marks they obtain in examinations but on the basis of their fitness and overall approach.
Rathore, who has initiated a slew of measures to harness the future sports stars in the country, said in the next four years at least 150 schools with excellence in education will be provided with government funds to develop sporting skills in students.
"To begin with, 20 schools with boarding facilities will be given a fund of Rs 7 crore to Rs 10 crore for developing sports infrastructure and training the students as per their abilities. One school in each district will be identified so that students get the required training while staying close to their natural environment," Rathore said. He urged private players and the corporate sector to contribute to the National Sports Development Fund.
The minister said schools must ensure that kids get more time to play instead of just completing bulky syllabi. He said the union HRD ministry has already recommended to the government to halve the school syllabus.