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Budget 2018: Arun Jaitley allocates Rs 2196 cr to Sports ministry

Budget 2018: Arun Jaitley allocates Rs 2196 cr to Sports ministry

Soham Mukherjee

Published: 2 Feb 2018 2:16 AM GMT
The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports received a combined allocation of Rs 2196.35 crore in the union budget, presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday. This was a substantial hike of around Rs 250 crore from the previous year's allocation of Rs 1943.21 crore. Out of the total corpus around Rs 1425.50 crore has been exclusively allocated to sports, as reported by Scroll. The Khelo India programme which has been launched by conglomerating three erstwhile schemes- the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Abhiyan, the Urban Sports Infrastructure Scheme and the National Sports Talent Search Programme received the lion's share of the budget with Rs 575.59 crore. It is also worth mentioning that the government had previously approved Rs 1756 crore for a period of three years to stimulate sports culture at the grass-root level. The Sports Authority of India (SAI) who are responsible for organizing national camps also received a higher grant than the previous year, as they were allocated Rs 481 crore to meet their expenditures.
The allocation to National Sports Federation has also been increased to Rs 302 crore from Rs 185 crore so that Indian athletes get the best sports equipments and are exposed to international training and tournaments. Rs 148.4 crore has been allocated to the fund for the Benefit of North Eastern Area, but allocation for Jammu and Kashmir has remained constant at Rs 75 crore. Rs 23 crore was granted to award sports scholarships at national, state level and university/college level. This fund will also cater to Arjuna and Dhyanchand winners along with medallists at the Olympics, Paralympics, Asian Games, Commonwealth Games, World Cups and World Championships. But, only Rs 50 lakh has been allocated for identifying and nurturing sports talent which has been regarded as a major drawback in the budget. The Sports Ministry is actively looking for contributions from the Public Sector Undertakings for the National Sports Development Fund to increase and enhance sports activities and promotion of players. It was surprising that no funds were allocated for promotion of sports among differently-abled sportspersons, but the Ministry later clarified through a release that ' funds for promotion of sports among disabled will be done now from the funds allotted from Khelo India Programme and hence only a token amount has been provided'. The release also stated that,' A talent search portal is being launched for identification and nurturing of sporting talent in the country. To start with, a sum of Rs 50 lakh has been kept for this purpose. Funds have been separately designated for nurturing and developing sports talent'. 'National-level competitions have been organised under the Khelo India Programme so as to initiate a sporting culture in the country. Also, rural games are being planned to be held in the near future.'
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