The government on Saturday allocated Rs 2826.92 crore to the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, just Rs 50 crore up from Rs 2776.92 crore in 2019-2020.

But according to the ministry, sports expenditure last year was Rs 1296.95 crore, while this year’s budget is Rs 1999 crore, an increase of 54 percent (Rs 702.05 crore) as compared to 2018-19.

“Sufficient funds were made available for sports and additional funds were provided in supplementary demands,” Sports secretary RS Julaniya told The New Indian Express. “The provision of Rs 2099.42 crore for the next financial year should be seen in the light of expenditure of Rs 1296.95 crore in 2018-2019. The provision is sufficient to meet our present and projected needs for sports.”

The government has given a substantial hike of Rs 291.42 crore to its flagship Khelo India programme for the development of sports at the grassroot and youth level.

The allocation to Sports Authority of India (SAI) has been decreased from the revised Rs 615 crore to Rs 500 crore. The SAI is the nodal organisation to manage nationals camps, provide infrastructure, equipment and other logistics to the country’s sportspersons.

Julaniya said that the SAI budget cut was because “all STCs are now under Khelo India. We rationalised and simplified the budget, accounting for better accountability and impact.”

With inputs from PTI