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National Sports Day: A look at India's sports budget over years

With the gradual importance of sports in the country, funding from the authorities becomes an important part of the development process.

National Sports Day: A look at Indias sports budget over years

Rajdeep Saha

Updated: 30 Aug 2021 9:47 AM GMT

The record-breaking medal haul at this year's Tokyo Olympics has certainly shown that India too can become a strong sporting nation. While governmental organisations and sponsors shell out large sums of money to the medallists, the focus shifts to the financial budget that is kept aside for the development of the country's sports. We try to understand its changing nature over the years, and if it has been for the better or for the worse.

An important year for Indian sports in recent times was 2010, when the country hosted the Commonwealth games. That year's budget allocated for sports and decreased from that of the previous financial year, from Rs 3706 crore to Rs 3565 crore to be precise. Out of this chunk, an amount of Rs 2069 was set aside for the Games, and this sum was further allocated to different sections like media coverage, the development of stadiums, and the different sports organisations.

If we take a look at the country's financial support for sports in the last five years or so, we will see a huge change in the usual trend. This can be credited to the introduction of the Khelo India programme, pioneered by the current government. While the overall sports budget since 2016 increased to a significant extent, much of it went to the government's flagship sports programme which aimed to promote grass-root level children and giving them a platform. The jump, in numbers, was from a mere Rs 97.52 crore in 2016 to a mammoth Rs 890.92 crore in 2020.

Sports bodies of the country like SAI (Sports Authority of India) felt their pockets get heavy too but not as much as Khelo India did. Over the past five years, SAI saw a small rise of Rs 92 crore in its annual budget allocation. It is important to note that the government allocates the annual budget allocation to the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (MYAS), which includes several programmes related to the youth of the nation.

In the financial year 2021-2022, sporting organisations like SAI and the NSFs (National Sports Federations) gained in their budget allocations, despite the ongoing pandemic. The total fund allocated is Rs 2596.14 crore , a lesser amount compared to last year. Contrary to the usual trend, this year the Khelo India took a huge hit to their funding. The incentives for sportspersons saw an increase, but the downsides included a decrease in the fund kept for the maintenance of infrastructure and an unchanged amount of Rs 50 crore for the development of sports in Jammu and Kashmir.

Hence we see that while sports is slowly gaining traction as an important entity of the nation, it still has a long way to go. We have seen renowned athletes disappear into the background due to financial reasons, where no jobs were made available to them. The Olympics should be a lesson for the finance ministry to pour enough funds into sports as the end result will be glory for the country.

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