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India’s Sports sector to get big boost from Union Budget: What It means for Paris 2024 and beyond

Published at :January 17, 2024 at 3:10 PM
Modified at :January 17, 2024 at 3:12 PM
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Sports received highest allocation in history of Union Budget in 2023

With the Paris 2024 Olympics looming, the spotlight is extensively focused on the sports sector ahead of the Union Budget 2024. In 2023, the industry received an allocation of INR 3397.32 Cr, marking its highest-ever budget allocation in history with a jump of over INR 300 Crores.

Out of this, Khelo India got the maximum budget allocation of INR 1045 crores and has played a pivotal part in shaping the industry’s growth. Given the significance of last year’s budget, the nation’s sports industry stakeholders are united in their vision for the upcoming Union Budget as a critical player in shaping India’s future on the global stage, not just in Paris but also for India’s future Olympics bid.

Punit Balan, Chairman & Managing Director of the Punit Balan Group, expressed his optimism, stating, “Last year’s significant boost in the sports budget showcased the government’s commitment to supporting athletic talent. Considering the Paris Olympics 2024 this year, I hope to see a continued emphasis on encouraging and building future stars. The combination of grassroots initiatives like Khelo India and the professional leagues is essential for nurturing talent and ensuring a sustainable ecosystem for Indian sports.”

Looking beyond the Paris Olympics, India also aspires to host the 2036 Olympics.

Tenzing Niyogi, CEO and League Commissioner of Ultimate Kho Kho emphasized the need for strategic allocations, noting, “Aligning with the nation’s vision to host the 2036 Olympics under the leadership of our honorable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, we expect a strategic allocation for non-cricketing sports for infrastructure and talent development across diverse sporting disciplines. Furthermore, the allocation of funds from NSF is also of utmost importance as it will serve as a catalyst for nurturing grassroots programs and identifying as well as developing raw talent.

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An increase in the National Skill Development Fund is also imperative. This is not only in line with making India a multisport-playing nation but also with the creation of more opportunities through the PPP model to engage and entice additional corporate participation in the Sports Movement.”

As the sporting landscape in India evolves, Suhail Chandhok, U Mumba’s CEO, emphasized the importance of channeling resources into the development of indigenous sports leagues, the identification of talent, and the nurturing of grassroots initiatives.

“With the rapid development of emerging homegrown sports leagues, we anticipate an allocation of funds to elevate their prominence in the country. We also hope for a strategic focus on talent identification and grassroots development which to me are crucial pillars for creating a vibrant sports ecosystem. Investing in these areas will not only promote but also contribute to the sustainable development of diverse sporting disciplines,” he said.

Addressing the crucial aspect of international-level coaching, facilities, and sports sciences, Vikas K Gautam, CEO of Yuva Kabaddi Series, commented, “The allocation of funds towards the training of coaches is crucial, given the current lack of infrastructure and the absence of internationally standardized coaching facilities.

It is imperative to recognize that only well-trained coaches can cultivate athletes to compete at the international level. Emphasis on holistic development programs, focusing on talent identification and nurturing, nutrition, and sports science, to create a well-rounded ecosystem for aspiring athletes.”

Aditya Reddy, Co-Founder & CEO of Gamepoint, brought attention to the fiscal aspects of the sports sector, emphasizing that reducing GST could play a pivotal role in its transformation by remarking, “To transform the sports sector in India, it is imperative to encourage and incentivize private sports organizations.

This can be made possible by reducing the GST on sports services from 18% to 12%, incentivizing the establishment of sports goods manufacturing in India through a PLI scheme for sports equipment, and facilitating access to government, railways, and PSU sports facilities for the general public. If necessary, involving private organizations in managing these facilities under a PPP model can enhance both management and maintenance efficiency.”

Strategic allocations and funding play an instrumental role in the roadmap to transforming India into a true sporting nation. A well-supported sporting ecosystem by the government will not only contribute to success in events like the Paris Olympics but will also lay the foundation for a sustainable and thriving industry.

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