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Interim Union Budget 2024: Sports Ministry gets boost ahead of Paris Olympics

Published at :February 2, 2024 at 7:32 PM
Modified at :February 2, 2024 at 7:32 PM
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Ajay Gandhar

Sports sector received 45.36 crore hike in allocation.

Nirmala Sitharaman, the Union Finance Minister, delivered her sixth Budget. This Budget was interim as it preceded the upcoming general elections this year. The Interim Union Budget 2024 aimed to empower youth and women while keeping fiscal discipline and sustaining capex.

The Sports Ministry was also allocated Rs 3,442.32 crore, a hike of Rs 45.36 crore as compared to last year, in the interim Union Budget presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday. The primary focus for the 2024-25 financial year will be on the Olympic Games in Paris, scheduled from July 26 to August 11.

Khelo India gets more funds

The ministry’s flagship program, Khelo India, which aims to promote sports at the grassroots level and identify and nurture talent, saw an allocation of Rs 900 crore, reflecting a rise of Rs 20 crore from the previous budget. Khelo India has benefitted 38 lakh children and youth across the country and has also provided scholarships to over 10,000 athletes.

SAI and NSFs get more support

The Sports Authority of India (SAI), which organizes national camps, provides infrastructure and equipment to athletes and appoints coaches among others, saw a Rs 26.83 crore increase in its budgetary allocation from the previous year’s revised expenditure of Rs 795.77 crore. SAI has provided training and exposure to the Indian contingent for the Tokyo Olympics, where India won a record seven medals.

The National Sports Federations (NSFs), the governing bodies of various sports disciplines, will receive Rs 15 crore more this time, compared to the 2023-24 revised budget of Rs 325 crore. The NSFs are responsible for organizing national and international tournaments, selecting teams and coaches, and developing the sport at all levels.

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Anti-doping measures get a boost

The National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA), which is the nodal agency for implementing anti-doping rules and regulations in India, too got a raise with the government allocating Rs 22.30 crore in the interim budget as compared to Rs 21.73 crore in 2023-24. NADA conducts dope tests, education and awareness programmes, and imposes sanctions on athletes found guilty of doping.

The National Dope Testing Laboratory (NDTL), which is the only accredited laboratory in India for testing dope samples, will receive Rs 22 crore, Rs 2.5 crore more than the previous budget. NDTL was suspended by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in 2019 for non-conformity with international standards but the Suspension was revoked since it has been working to regain its accreditation.

Other highlights

The budget for the National Centre of Sports Science and Research, which conducts research and development in sports science and medicine, has been reduced to Rs 8 crore from Rs 10 crore previously, while the National Sports University, which offers academic and professional courses in sports, will get an increased allocation of Rs 91.90 crore from Rs 83.21 crore of 2023-24 budget.

The budget for incentives to sportspersons, such as cash awards, pensions, and medical facilities, saw a significant reduction from Rs 84 crore to Rs 39 crore. The allocation for the National Sports Development Fund, which mobilizes resources from the government and the private sector for sports promotion, was also reduced to Rs 18 crore from Rs 46 crore.

The Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay National Welfare for Sportspersons scheme, which provides financial assistance to sportspersons living in indigent conditions, got Rs 2 crore.

The allocation for ‘Enhancement of Sports Facility in Jammu and Kashmir’, which was launched in 2019 to upgrade sports infrastructure and provide coaching and equipment in the union territory, was also brought down to Rs 8 crore from the previous budget allocation of Rs 20 crore.

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