The Union Budget
is just around the corner, and there are a plethora of headlines covering tax reforms, impact investing, climate change, and more. One area that often gets overshadowed and lost is sports.
Taking a close look at the fund allocation to the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports in the past few years, we can have an idea of what awaits us on Feb 1. As far as the total allocation is concerned, the amount has been hovering around Rs 2,500-2,800 crore, 0.5-0.10 percent of the total budget.
Earlier, the Tokyo Olympics
was scheduled for 2020 and the budget allocated during that year was around Rs 2,800 crore. But, after the pandemic
struck and sporting events around the world came to a standstill, the amount was revised to Rs 1,800 crore.
If we look at the budget under the current regime, the range has been the same irrespective of any major events like the Commonwealth Games
or the Olympics.
So going by numbers of the past and the fact that this year will see events like the Winter Olympics, Asian Games, Commonwealth Games, Women's FIH Hockey World Cup and more, we can expect the budget to hover around in the same range.
was started to improve India's sports culture at the grassroots level. Over the years, games covered under the scheme have increased along with the number of competitions and athletes. Star Sports was the official broadcaster of Khelo India games, and it was a huge boost for the young players.
Although each sport should have received equal coverage, to begin with, it was a big step nonetheless. Looking at the last three years, the scheme has seen a gradual increase in its allocation. Of course, the pandemic year is an exception, but Khelo India was allocated a whopping amount of Rs 890 crores in 2020 before the amount was revised.
It's too early to call this scheme a success, but we can say that it is a step in the right direction. Athletes such as Saurabh Chaudhary, Anshu Malik, Srihari Nataraj, Lakshya Sen, Ankita Dhyani have benefitted from Khelo India.
So come Feb 1, you can expect this upward trend to continue.
The Sports Authority Of India
The ministry has many dedicated bodies that take care of infrastructure, the organisation of games, camps and more. The Sports Authority of India
gets the most amount allocated among these bodies.
Even in 2020, where most schemes and programmes faced massive cuts, funds to SAI were increased by over Rs 100 crores. Going forward, we can expect this trend to continue as the government will look to improve the infrastructure, conduct more competitions and camps with an eye on the upcoming events and the 2024 Summer Olympics.
Target Olympic Podium Scheme
Another scheme that needs to be looked at is the Target Olympic Podium Scheme. This scheme is focused on assisting the medal prospects and providing elite athletes with world-class training facilities. While the scheme has been praised by the likes of Mary Kom and Neeraj Chopra, there is still a need for a more proactive approach.
For example, Aditi Ashok
came close to winning a medal at the Tokyo Olympics, but to start with, she wasn't on the TOPS list of athletes. Although the list was recently revised to include her and other athletes, this shows that you need to reach a certain level and talent identification under TOPS needs to get better.
So, all in all, it is exciting times for sports in India, and we will have to see what the budget brings to the table come Feb 1.