Amid all the crisis due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Union Budget was presented on Monday by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. There was a visible impact on the national sports budget. In the budget, the central government has allocated Rs 2596.14 crore for the financial year 2021-22, apparently reducing Rs 230.78 crore from the amount reserved for the previous year.
In the last financial year, the government allocated Rs 2826.92 crore for sports, which was later revised to Rs 1800.15 crore due to the lack of sports activity caused by the outbreak of the pandemic. The Tokyo Olympics was postponed, cancellation of all domestic events in almost all sports and no foreign training and competition took place.
The sports ministry bears all the expenditures of all foreign training and competitions, including participation in the Olympics.
“Initially, sports was allocated ₹2826.92 in last year’s budget which was later revised to ₹1800.15 after all sporting events across the world came to a halt because of the COVID-19 pandemic,” a sports ministry official stated PTI, pointing why comparison should not be made with the revised budget of the previous year.
“There was hardly any activity last year as most of the national camps were closed because of the lockdown.”
“In terms of infrastructure development and up-gradation of stadiums too, there was hardly any progress because of the pandemic,” the official added, without disclosing further details.
The government’s flagship Khelo India programme was 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, Rs 890.42 crore in the last budget, has been reduced to Rs 657.71 core.
The Sports Authority of India’s budget was reduced to Rs 500 crore in the last budget but fortunately got a substantial soaring this time with the government initiating an increase of Rs 160.41 crore taking the total to Rs 660.41 crore, as SAI is the nodal organization to manage nationals camps, provide infrastructure, equipment, and other logistics to the country’s sportspersons
The allocation towards National Sports Federations (NSFs), which received a snub in the last budget, has also been increased by Rs 35 crore to Rs 280 crore.
Regarding the concern of incentives for sportspersons, the budget has initiated to further decrease the amount from Rs 70 crore to Rs 53 crore. Also, the budget for the National Sports Development Fund has been reduced to Rs 25 crore.
Even, the allocation for the 2010 Commonwealth Games-SAI stadia renovation was brought down to Rs 30 crore from Rs 75 last year. However, the National Welfare Fund for Sportspersons will continue to receive the same amount of Rs 2 crore as before. Moreover, at Rs 50 crore, there’s no change in the allocation for the improvement of sports facilities in Jammu and Kashmir.
Also, the Laxmi Bai National Institute of Physical Education will carry on to receive Rs 55 crore. In comparison, the contributions to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has been increased to Rs 2.5 crore from Rs 2 crore.