The ministry of youth affairs and sports, Government of India, has recognised STAIRS Foundation (Society for Transformation, Inclusion and Recognition through Sports) as a national sports promotion organisation (NSPO) for promoting sports at the grassroots and community level.

STAIRS claims to be the first organisation in the country to introduce the concept of grassroots sports development, having launched the Khelo India programme in 2001. This was a sports initiative that acknowledged every child’s right to play and sought to provide the underprivileged youth free access to sports equipment, infrastructure and space. The programme had multiple offshoots: Khelo Dilli, Khelo Haryana, Khelo UP, Khelo Himachal, Khelo Jharkhand, and Khelo Odisha.

The STAIRS School Football League (SSFL) was conceptualised in 2012 and launched in 2014 to promote football at grassroots level and reach out to young students in Indian schools to facilitate a talent-identification programme.

CB’s questions such as participation rates for Khelo India, success stories, plans about using the NSPO recognition to further promote sports and help young people, overall goals and impact assessments did not receive any response from the STAIRS team.

In a press release, Siddhartha Upadhyay, member, Governing Body – Sports Authority of India, and founder & secretary general of STAIRS, said, ‘The NSPO recognition to STAIRS Foundation by the government of India reiterates the efforts made by STAIRS towards creating opportunities for young children at the grassroots level across the country. India is on a growth trajectory and is on its way to become one of the strongest economies in the world. And this recognition places the onus on our shoulders to optimally contribute towards India’s growth story through sports development and youth empowerment.’