Widening the scope of its flagship ‘Khelo India’ program, the Government on Friday announced the setting up of a National Sports Education Board in the first Budget of its second term but did not change the interim allocations set aside for sports.
The allocations from the interim Budget presented by the then Finance Minister Piyush Goyal in February earlier this year were left untouched in the full budget presented by Nirmala Sitharaman in New Delhi.
“Khelo India Scheme, launched in October 2017, has created awareness for sports as an integral part of wellness throughout the country,” Sitharaman said in her budget speech.
“The government is committed to expand Khelo India scheme and provide all necessary financial support. To popularise sports at all levels, a National Sports Education Board for development of sportspersons will be set up under Khelo India Scheme,” she added.
The Sports and Youth Affairs Ministry had got a substantial raise of Rs 214.2 crore from the interim budget presented in February. The allocation was raised from last year’s Rs 2002.72 to Rs 2216.92 crore.
The allocation to the Sports Authority of India was increased by Rs 55 crore to Rs 450 crore. The SAI is the nodal organisation to manage nationals camps, provide equipment and other logistics to the country’s sportspersons.
The Khelo India National Programme for Development of Sports had also got a hike of Rs 50.31 crore in the interim budget, going up from Rs 550.69 crore to Rs 601 crore. Besides, the allocation for NSDF has increased from Rs 2 crore to Rs 70 crore.
The incentive fund for the sportspersons was also raised from Rs 63 crore to Rs 89 crore.
However, the assistance to National Sports Federations was slashed slightly from Rs 245.13 crore to Rs 245 crore.
The overall allocation for encouragement and awards to sportspersons was increased by Rs 94.07 crore. The previous allocation stood at Rs 316.93 crore and will now be Rs 411 crore.
Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju welcomed the new budget proposals for sports.
“On behalf of the entire sports fraternity of India I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to @narendramodiji & FM @nsitharamanji for the announcement in #Budget2019 to establish NATIONAL SPORTS EDUCATION BOARD for development of sportspersons under @kheloindia,” he tweeted.