In a year when the Indian athletes will compete at the Asian Games and prepare for 2024 Paris Olympics, the Sports Ministry has got a fillip with the government allocating Rs 3,397.32 crore, an increase of Rs 723.97 crore, in the Union Budget, presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday.
The amount is more than the revised budget of the previous financial year (2022-23) when the ministry received Rs 2,673.35 crore, as against the actual allocation of Rs 3,062.60 crore.
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One of the reasons for the reduced revised allocation for 2022-23 could be the postponement of the Hangzhou Asian Games, which will be held this year.
Khelo India among government’s priority
The ministry’s flagship programme, Khelo India — National Programme for Development of Sports — continues to be the government’s priority, with it being allotted Rs 1,045 crore as against the revised allocation of Rs 606 crore during the previous financial year.
This is an increase of Rs 439 crore and points to the government’s commitment to the programme, which over the years, has shown the potential to produce athletes for major global events such as the Olympics, Asian Games and the Commonwealth Games.
SAI’s allocation increased
The Sports Authority of India (SAI), which takes care of organising national camps for athletes, providing infrastructure and equipment to athletes, appointment of coaches and maintaining sports infrastructure, among others, has seen a Rs 36.09 crore increase in its budgetary allocation from the previous year’s revised expenditure of Rs 749.43 crore. Their allocation for 2023-24 stands at Rs 785.52 crore.
Rs 325 crore for NSFs
The National Sports Federations (NSFs) have received an increased allocation of Rs 45 crore, from previous year’s revised budget of Rs 280 crore and will now get Rs 325 crore.
The National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA), affiliated to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), and the National Dope Testing Laboratory (NDTL), which earlier received funding from SAI, will now get it directly.
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A provision has been made in this year’s budget to provide NADA a funding of Rs 21.73 crore, while NDTL, which conducts the tests, will receive Rs 19.50 crore.
With countries across the world striving for sporting excellence and paying more attention to sports science and scientific training of athletes, this year’s budget has also made a provision of Rs 13 crore for the National Centre of Sports Science and Research.
(With Agency inputs)