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Govt cuts the sports budget by Rs 230.78 crore in an Olympic year

IndiaGovt cuts the sports budget by Rs 230.78 crore in an Olympic year

The Central government in the Union budget for 2021-22 allocated Rs.2,596.14 crore to sports, less by Rs.230.78 crore.

This was around 8.16 percent allocated in the previous financial year during which hardly any sports activity was held due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Out of the total allocated amount, Rs.2,549.41 crore has been earmarked as a 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 include 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 Sports Ministry’s flagship Khelo India has had its allocation cut to Rs.657.71 crore from Rs.890.42 crore allotted 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 was Rs.245 crore.

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 yearr 2021.

Budget 2021: Sports takes cut of Rs 230.78 crore where Khelo India sees the hugest reduction in the sports budget.  In the last financial year, the government had allocated Rs 2826.92 crore for sports but it is down to Rs 2596.14 crore this time around.

The spending last year was severely impacted after Tokyo Olympics was postponed, domestic events were cancelled in almost all sports and no foreign training and competition were possible for most of the Indian athletes.

The sports ministry bears the cost of all foreign training and competition, 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,” said a sports ministry official, indicating why comparison should not be made with the revised budget of last 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 divulging 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, presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday.

The budgetary allocation towards the Khelo India programme, which got Rs 890.42 crore in the last budget, was reduced to Rs 657.71 core.

However, it was remarkable that despite the difficulties the athletes faced with curtailed movement, financial struggles where many of them could not afford healthy, rich diets, their sheer hard work, immense talent and grit led them to win seven medals.

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