The government of India on Thursday Rs 2196.35 crore to the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports in its annual Union Budget for 2018-’19. This was a jump from the Rs 1,943.21 crore in last year’s budget, which was further revised and reduced to Rs 1,938.16 crore.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented the Budget for the financial year 2018-’19 in Parliament on Thursday. This was the last full-year Budget of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance government before the general elections in 2019.
Out of the total Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports budget, Rs 1,425.50 crore was reserved only for sports. The Indian government’s Khelo India programme received the highest amount, Rs 575.59 crore. Out of this, Rs 520 crore was for Khelo India, while the rest was divided among other initiatives that come within the umbrella of the national programme.
The Khelo India programme was launched by the Sports Ministry in 2016 by merging three schemes – the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Abhiyan, the Urban Sports Infrastructure Scheme and the National Sports Talent Search Programme.
The objective of the programme was to “revive the sports culture in India at the grass-root level by building a strong framework for all sports played in our country and establish India as a great sporting nation”.
In September last year, the government had approved an amount of Rs 1,756 crore for a period of three years to revamp Khelo India. The amount reserved for the initiative in last year’s budget was Rs 442.50 crore.
The Sports Authority of India has been scheduled to receive Rs 429.56 crore in this year’s budget. Objectives of the SAI include “spotting and nurturing talented children in different age groups for achieving excellence by providing them with requisite infrastructure and equipment support, coaching and other facilities”. SAI is also responsible for maintaining stadia across the country that were constructed or renovated for the 1982 Asian Games in Delhi.
Rs 342 crore was reserved for assistance of National Sports Federations, which can be used for sending teams abroad for training and participating in internationals tournaments, hosting international tournaments in India, conducting national championships, and procuring sports equipments. Financial assistance is also extended through the SAI for organising coaching camps and hiring foreign coaches.
Rs 23 crore was allocated towards incentives for sportspersons, which includes scholarships at national, state level and university/college level. This also includes money for awards given to medallists at the Olympics, Paralympics, Asian Games, Commonwealth Games, World Cups and World Championships. The Arjuna and Dhyanchand Awards also are covered under this.
However, like last year, no money was allocated for promotion of sports among differently abled sportspersons, nor for the Scheme for Identification and Nurturing of Sports Talent in the country. Rs 2 crore was, however, reserved for the enhancement of sports facilities in Jammu and Kashmir.
The National Sports Development Fund will also receive Rs 2 crore, as will the National Welfare Fund for Sportspersons, which is meant for assisting outstanding yesteryear athletes. As much as Rs 45 crore was reserved for the Laxmi Bai National Institute of Physical Education in Gwalior.