The Sports Budget of the nation has got no boost this time. Amid the entire 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 Rs. 2826.92 in last year’s budget which was later revised to Rs. 1800.15 after all sporting events across the world came to a halt because of the COVID-19 pandemic,” a sports minister official stated PTI, pointing why comparison should not be made with the revised budget of the previous year.
The official added saying that “In terms of infrastructure development and up-gradation of stadiums too, there was hardly any progress because of the pandemic.”
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 crore.
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 of Rs. 660.41 crore, as SAI is the nodal organisation to manage nationals’ camps, provide infrastructure, equipment, and other logistics to the country’s sportsperson.
The allocation towards National Sports Federations (NSFs), which received a snub in the last budget, has also been increased by Rs. 35 crores to Rs. 280 crore.
Regarding the concern of incentives for the sportsperson, the budget has initiated to further decreased 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 crore 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.