Govt cuts sports budget by Rs 230.78 crore in an Olympic year
NEW DELHI [Maha Media]: The Central government in the Union budget for 2021-22 on Monday allocated Rs.2,596.14 crore to sports, less by Rs.230.78 crore -- or, 8.16 per cent -- allocated in the previous financial year during which hardly any sports activity was held due to Covid-19 pandemic.
Out of the total allocated amount, Rs.2,549.41 crore has been earmarked as revenue budget that sports departments use for basic expenses, such as salaries of employees, while Rs.46.73 crore has been set aside for capital expenses that includes construction of facilities/new stadia etc.
The allocation for basic expenses is Rs.226.49 crore less than last fiscal's. From Rs.2,775.90 crore in the last fiscal, the amount for capital expenses is Rs.4.29 crore down from Rs.51.02 crore.
The Central government had allocated Aatma Nirbhar Bharat packages totalling Rs.20 lakh crore to various sectors this year to deal with economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. The fallout of this, coupled by the fact that a chunk of the budget allocated for sports in the 2020-21 fiscal had not been used due to the pandemic freezing a majority of the sports calendar last year, could be a reason for the allocation in various department being slashed for the 2021-22 fiscal.
The Sports Authority of India (SAI) has been allocated Rs.660.41 crore, which is an increase from the Rs.500 crore allocated in the last budget.
The Sports Ministry's flagship Khelo India has had its allocation slashed to Rs.657.71 crore from Rs.890.42 crore allocated in 2020-21 -- a difference of Rs. 232.71 crore, though in the revised budget of 2020-21 the amount was reduced to Rs.890.42 crore to rs.329.77 crore.
Assistance to the National Sports Federations (NSFs), however, has been increased by Rs.35 crore. This year's budget is Rs.280 crore while last year's was Rs.245 crore.
"Our ACTC (Annual Calendar Training and Competitions) for the national team preparing for Tokyo Olympics has been approved but any change in plan would require more funding. If NSFs are given some additional funds in these unprecedented times due to pandemic it would be a big support," Archery Association of India secretary general Pramod Chandurkar told IANS.
Fencing Association of India secretary general Bashir Ahmed Khan said the Olympic year is always important.
"It's always good to have more funds in Olympic year. Recently we got Rs.20 lakh for international exposure for CA Bhavani Devi as she is on the verge of getting Olympic quota and currently training in Italy. Since she plans to stay in Italy for a long period, it would be good we get additional funding apart from approved annual competition-cum-training calendar by the government," Khan told IANS.
The year 2021 is an Olympic year due to the postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Olympics was initially scheduled to be held from July 24 to August 9 last year but was postponed in March, 2020 to July 23 to August 8 this year.