Include Sports Academies in Covid-19 Relief Fund. SAVE them from shutting down

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*Sporting culture in India is at risk! Support private sports academies to survive.*

We are in the middle of the biggest global pandemic. The Indian economy has been hit hard, its deep impact evident across all sectors. The Government of India has proposed collateral-free loans to MSMEs to restart their businesses.

However the private sports academies have been completely left-out from any form of relief scheme. They form the backbone of sports as India is yet to reach even satisfactory levels of sports infrastructure and training requirements. They produce sportsmen of national and international-level. They prepare players from the grassroots before they move on to top-level coaching. Their ecosystem involves former national players turned coaches, physiotherapists, nutritionists providing a complete support system who are dedicated out of their passion for sports in spite of the low remunerations.

In the current scenario, private sports academies are on the verge of closure.
Reasons are many-
·      Unlike general education, sports is not deemed 'essential'. Worse, sports education by it’s very nature, cannot be imparted through online sessions.
·      They are the main source of income for a huge number of coaches and sports professionals, who do not fall under full-time employment hence are not eligible for any employee benefit scheme.
. Since the academies fall under the unorganised sector, neither the government nor does the state sports federation fights their case. A stand-alone body, therefore, with no funding, surviving merely on coaching fees.

It may be noted that private sports academies are regular taxpayers, contributing majorly towards the socio-economic development of a country. Sports generates athletes, employment, leaders, good health, discipline in character. It promotes unity within a country, cohesiveness in community and prepares the youth to meet the challenges head on.

I request you to sign this petition to include private sports academies in the relief package provided by the Government of India. They deserve to be supported to continue being valuable to society.

The future of sports of India is at stake, show your support.
Jai Hind!