The revamped Khelo India programme, approved by the Union Cabinet at a cost of Rs 1,756 crore for the period 2017-18 to 2019-20, faces a challenge from the Railways in terms of allowing concessions to the travelling athletes. This under-17 tournament for school students from across the states, will be having a participation of over 5,000 school students and around 2,000 coaches, technical delegates and other officials. The sports ministry has requested the railways ministry to offer concession on AC train tickets to the participating students and officials accompanying them. But the Railways has stated that there is no such provision in its rulebook.
According to Railway rules, a sportsperson participating in the ‘All India, State and National’ tournaments are entitled for 75 percent concession in second and sleeper class, and 50 percent in First Class (non AC). However Non-AC First Class category is no longer available in most trains. Thus, if the Railway Ministry approves Sports Auhority of India’s (SAI) demand, then it would have to either make a special provision for Khelo India participants or bring about a complete policy change.
A proposal has been sent to the Railway Board, the ministry’s top decision-making body, to come out of the situation.