CSIR-Sports Promotion Board
Sports activities are a universal form of recreation. It is also one form of the great expressions of the aspirations of a person to excel. Appreciating the impact of employee recreation in the development of leadership qualities, interaction and communication skills that are essential in providing effective service delivery, organizing sports events and creating recreational environment have become an integral part of the personnel policy of CSIR.
Towards this objective, the early initiatives taken by a few of the CSIR Instts./labs.especially those located in remote places like, Pilani, Bhavnagar, Karaikudi, Dhanbad, Jorhat, etc., to form staff clubs are highly laudable. These Instts./labs set up their staff clubs, as soon as they were established. However, organizing sports events at the agency level in CSIR commenced in 1953 with the initiative of the CSIR Headquarters when it hosted a tournament for the staff of Delhi-based laboratories. This ‘limited sports activity’ continued for three years.
This "limited sports activity" of CSIR was elevated to an All India level in 1955, after the sudden demise of the founder Director (now redesignated as Director General), Dr. S.S. Bhatnagar. In his memory, the Tournament was named as the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Memorial Tournament (SSBMT) that enlarged the participation of all CSIR employees spread across the country. Initially, the tournaments were organized biannually having games such as Cricket, Volleyball, Tennis, Basketball, Table Tennis, Badminton, Chess, Carrom and Bridge. The responsibility was then shouldered by the CSIR Headquarters Staff Club that used to organize the tournament in CSIR laboratories over a period of 7 to 8 days, every alternate year. The SSBMT held at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) in 1956 could be termed as the First All India CSIR Tournament. These tournaments continued to be held regularly till 1980, with a little pause during the China War in 1965.
Meanwhile, CSIR considered providing greater impetus to sports within the system. An official platform was accordingly provided by forming the CSIR Sports Control Board (SCB) on the lines of those existed in the Railways, P&T, etc. Formalization of the CSIR Sports Control Board took place in March, 1980 with its registration as a Society under the Societies Registration Act XXI of 1860. In view of the objectives/role of Sports Control Board, its nomenclature was changed to the Sports Promotion Board (SPB) and efforts are underway to renew/register the present CSIR-SPB with its new name.
The SSBMTs received overwhelming response with huge participation of around 1000 players and officials at one time. Many small Instts./labs with limited infrastructure experienced difficulties to host such mega events. It was therefore resolved to separately organize Zonals and Finals involving relatively lesser number of participants. All the 40 plus staff clubs were then clubbed to form four zones with the participation of around 200 participants at each venue. Top two successful teams in individual and team events of each game from these four zones then met at the Finals. After some experiments involving various permutations and combinations over a period of time, the SSBMT came into being in its present form i.e. being organized every year, alternately for indoor and outdoor games. The present practice thus provides greater incentive to the best eight players/teams every year as they get an opportunity to play twice (at two different venues for zonals and for finals) during the same year.