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A mere Rs 50 crore rise in sports budget Olympics year a matter of concern

Apart from the small increase in the overall sports budget, a more cause of concern is the slashing of incentives for athletes to Rs 70 crore from Rs 111 crore.

February 06, 2020 / 02:17 PM IST

The Indian contingent's haul in the Rio Olympics was a mere two medals, a significant drop from six in the London Olympics.

The Rio Games turned out to be controversial due to inferior arrangements for Indian athletes at the Olympics.

From lack of furniture at the Games Village to improper kits, sportspersons from India faced many hurdles.

And this year's Budget allocation for sports is raising similar concerns.


In 2019-2020, Rs 2,776.92 crore was allocated for sports. As for 2020-21, the increase in overall Budget for Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports is Rs 50 crore, with budget allocation of Rs 2,826 crore.

Apart from the small increase in the overall sports budget, a more cause of concern is the slashing of incentives for athletes to Rs 70 crore from Rs 111 crore.

Talking to Moneycontrol, Jay Sayta, Sports and Gaming Industry Analyst pointed out the troubles athletes went through at the Rio Olympics.

"If you remember in 2016 Rio Olympics, OP Jaisha had complained of getting no water at the stalls. These are basic things for which there is no budget or manpower. If because of the budget allocation basic facilities were not provided, how can it be expected from athletes to do well. These are the things that are not provided by the federation and even the government is responsible," he said.

He added that "the total allocation of Rs 2,826 crore for sports sector in the budget may not be sufficient especially if we keep in mind that 2020 is an Olympic year with Summer Olympics scheduled in Tokyo later this year".

Jay Kowli, Secretary General, Boxing Federation of India (BFI) feels the drop in funds for National Sports Federations (NSFs) will impact athletes at the grassroot level

The NSFs will receive Rs 245 crore as compared to Rs 300.85 crore from the 2019-20 Budget, a drop of Rs 55 crore.

In addition, the budget allocation for Sports Authority of India has also been slashed with government revising allocation from Rs 615 crore to Rs 500 crore.

"The reduction in budget for sports federations, Sports Authority of India (SAI) as well as incentives for sportsperons is disappointing as it does not support India's long-term goal of creating world class sports infrastructure and supporting athletes in their equipments and basic needs. Without an impetus from the government to sports infrastructure and athletes, it will be difficult to realise NITI Aayog's vision of India winning 50 medals at the 2024 Olympics," said Sayta.

The share of funds for SAI declined from 63 percent in 2014-15 to 47 percent in 2016-17, a report suggests.

SAI, which is the apex national sports body, takes care of infrastructure for sports and development of sports in the country.

"SAI is where most of the athletes turn to for their training and to become champions. SAI centres should be there in every city and town. If that is missing, world class centres at accessible zones, then it could be difficult for athletes," said Sayta.

While the focus on Khelo India, pet project of Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore is important which has been the biggest beneficiary in the 2020 Budget, Sayta said that emphasis should be on infrastructure for sports.

Kowli concurs who said that strengthening the system is important.

"Everybody is interested in Mary Kom but nobody is interested in the system behind her rise. Along with states, there should be participation of the private sector and mobilization of funds through different ways. UK and China use money from lottery for sports. Such innovative ideas could be beneficial for sports industry in India," he said.

Maryam Farooqui
first published: Feb 3, 2020 06:20 pm

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