Nita Ambani, owner of the IPL franchise Mumbai Indians and founding member of the ISL, stressed on the importance of sports in an address at the Sports Business Summit on Tuesday, whilst also appreciating the current government's initiatives to promote the growth of sports in India.
Noting that "no nation in the world can emerge as a great sporting power without strong governmental support", Ambani lauded the Indian government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his initiatives meant to inculcate a sporting culture among the masses.
"Right now in India we are fortunate that our prime minister, Narendra Modi, has a great vision to transform India into a global sporting powerhouse. In addition to promoting yoga globally, Prime Minister Modi has recently launched two major initiatives to promote sport: the Khelo India program and the ambitious Fit India Movement," Ambani, who is the chairperson of the Reliance Foundation, said during her keynote address at the Sports Business Summit in London on Tuesday.
She also pointed out that these initiatives were being spurred on by the "digital revolution that is changing the landscape of India."
"The efforts put in by the government and the private sector in grassroots and youth development have started bearing fruit: our young Indian players have taken the world by storm," she said.
Ambani also spoke about a Reliance initiative named the 'Education and Sports for All' programme, saying, "the ESA programme combines the power and pull of sports and education especially for children who are underprivileged and differently-abled. Under the ESA initiative every year we bring 21,000 children to watch their favourite team, Mumbai Indians, play. For all of them, this is their first-ever visit to a stadium to watch a live match. Not only do this children go home with stars in their eyes, but also with the belief that they too can dream and achieve."
Furthermore, in her closing remarks, Ambani outlined her three-pronged vision for the future of sports, which included the establishment of India as a global sports powerhouse, the attainment of global peace through sport and the inclusion of the 'Right to Sports' in the fundamental constitution.
The Right to Sports is an idea that gained traction in 2018 when the Supreme Court asked the centre to act on a Public Interest Litigation issued by a law student named Kanishka Pandey, which aimed to make sports a fundamental right under Article 21A. While a concrete result is yet to come out of the PIL, the idea has been well-received, seeing as it would make sports a vital tenet of the Right to Education.
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