More than a month since the national sports awards, the 74 recipients are yet to receive the prize money or the trophy from the sports ministry, The Indian Express reported.
The sportsmen, coaches and academies were awarded in a virtual online ceremony attended by President Ramnath Kovind and sports minister Kiren Rijiju on August 29.
But several athletes told The Indian Express that they are yet to receive the prize money or the trophy.
“I have provided all the relevant details to the Ministry. But I am yet to receive the money as well as the trophy,” said wrestler Rahul Aware told the newspaper.
Wushu coach Kuldeep Handoo who was awarded the Dronacharya award is also yet to receive the trophy or the funds and said that his students are waiting to click a picture with the trophy.
An official in the sports ministry revealed that the delay was due to the increase in the prize money for the awards this year, KYC details of the athletes and a software problem.
The Khel Ratna prize money was hiked from Rs 7.5 lakh to Rs 25 lakh while the Arjuna award sum was raised to Rs 15 lakh from Rs 5 lakh. The increased prize money amount left the ministry scrambling for funds.
“The hike, along with a substantial increase in the number of award winners (from around 30 to 74), meant that the funds earmarked at the start of the financial year did not prove to be sufficient. Since the budget allotment got exceeded, we had to get the money from other existing heads,” the official told The Indian Express.
There was also a directive that the transfer of the prize money should be made from the online direct benefit transfer software of the National Informatics Centre which would require KYC details of all athletes.
The official said that the payments should be processed within the next 3-4 days.
The government is also exploring the possibility of holding another function for the physical handover of the trophies on request of several athletes.