With a view to promoting sports, the Union Human Resource Development Ministry on Friday announced free education for students who win medals for India in the ongoing Commonwealth Games.

It has also asked the University Grants Commission and the Central Board of School Education to formulate schemes of financial incentives to support talented sportspersons and strengthen the sports infrastructure in educational institutions, HRD Minister Kapil Sibal told journalists here.

“As a token of appreciation and for encouraging sports among students of all categories, the cost of education of students who win medals in the Commonwealth Games 2010 would be borne by the Centre for the entire duration of their studies.” This would include tuition fee and maintenance expenditure like hostel charges.

While the expenditure for college and university students would be taken care of by the UGC, the CBSE would bear it for school students irrespective of whether they were in CBSE-affiliated institutions or not. The benefit would cover private institutions also.

The support would continue as long as the medal winners wished to pursue studies. The UGC and the CBSE would soon work out the modalities.

Hails performance

Appreciating India's performance in the Games, Mr. Sibal said the sportspersons had won medals despite the lack of world-class infrastructure.

“The incentives will encourage sportspersons to perform better in the Asian Games and Olympics also.”

The nation must back sportspersons and they must feel they were being supported, Mr. Sibal said, adding that though cricket was now self-financing, other sports needed support and encouragement.