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Allocation to sports, govt’s flagship scheme Khelo India see steep budgetary cuts | More sports News


NEW DELHI: It’s an Olympic year and the country’s sports administrators would have hoped for an increased monetary allocation in the union budget for the financial year 2021-22. However, the national sports budget faced a steep cut of Rs 230.78 crore from what the government had originally allocated in the previous financial year 2020-2021. On Monday, the union budget was presented in the shadow of the Covid-19 pandemic and the sports’ budgetary allocation was pegged at Rs 2596.14 crore. In the last financial year, the figure was 2826.92 crore, which was later revised mid-term to Rs 1800.15 crore after all forms of sports activities came to a complete halt due to the pandemic.
There would be some defending the budgetary grant, like the allocation should be looked at from the prism of revised estimates for the year 2020-21 when the sports budget was reduced by Rs 1026.77 crore from the original Rs 2826.92 crore to Rs 1800.15 crore. Officials in the sports ministry argued that this year’s allocated amount is Rs 795.99 crore more than the revised budget (1800.15 crore) of 2020-21. The revision was largely because of Covid-19 disrupting every big and small sports activity: postponement of Tokyo Olympics, cancellation of domestic calendar and international tournaments at home and abroad and no training-cum-competition exposure trips.
However, to counter the official claim, a closer look at the budgetary allocation for the financial year 2019-2020 when there’s no Covid-19 and everything was business as usual, the current overall fiscal grant is still short of Rs 39.92 crore. In 2019-20, the budgetary allocation to sports was Rs 2636.06 crore and the latest disbursement is of Rs 2596.14 crore, which results in a shortfall of Rs 39.92 crore.
The government’s flagship Khelo India programme has been handed the biggest reduction of Rs 232.71 crore among all sports heads for the 2021-22 budget. The financial allocation towards the Khelo India programme, which got Rs 890.42 crore in the last budget, was reduced to Rs 657.71 core. Midway last year, it was further slashed to Rs 328.77 crore (from Rs 890.42 crore) in the revised estimate for 2020-21. However, from the 2019-20 allocation of Rs 575.52 crore, there’s a marginal increase of Rs 82.19 crore.
On a brighter side, the Sports Authority of India (SAI), whose allocation was reduced to Rs 500 crore in the last budget, has received a substantial hike of Rs 160.41 crore taking the total to Rs 660.41 crore. However, it’s pertinent to mention here that during the revised estimate for 2020-21, the SAI’s budgetary allocation was increased to Rs 612.21 crore, which meant the total hike for the financial year 2021-22 is merely Rs 48.2 crore. For 2019-20, the SAI’s budget was Rs 615 crore.
Similarly, the National Sports Federations (NSFs) have something to cheer about as their budgetary allocation has been hiked by Rs 35 crore to Rs 280 crore this time from the previous grant of Rs 245 crore last financial year. During the mid-term assessment 2020-21, the NSFs’ budget was dramatically slashed to just Rs 132 crore due to the lack of sports activities owing to the pandemic. In that scenario, these NSFs could argue that their allocation has been increased by Rs 148 crore from originally-allocated Rs 245 crore to revised Rs 132 crore in the 2020-21 financial year. During 2019-20, the NSFs had received a hefty allocation of Rs 300.85 crore.
The budget for the National Sports Development Fund (NSDF) has also been halved to Rs 25 crore from the previous budgetary allocation of Rs 50 crore. There has also been no change in the allocation for the enhancement of sports facilities in Jammu and Kashmir at Rs 50 crore. The allocation for the 2010 Commonwealth Games-SAI stadia renovation has also been cut down to Rs 30 crore from Rs 75 crore last year. There has been a 17-crore depreciation in funds to incentivize the sportspersons, slashing it to Rs 53 crore this time from the previous year’s allocation of Rs 70 crore.



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