The increased budgetary allocation for financial year 2023-24 should be utilised “adequately” and “judiciously” by the sports ministry for the training of athletes for the Asian Games this year and the 2024 Olympics, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Youth Affairs and Sports has said.
The government has enhanced the budgetary allocation to the sports ministry for 2023-24 by 22.08 per cent as compared to the revised estimate allocation for the previous financial year, mainly because of the upcoming two mega multi-discipline events.
In its report, the committee observed that, “the major share of the total budgetary allocation in BE (budget estimates) 2023-24 of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports is for the Department of Sports, i.e. 72.49%, whereas it is 27.51% for the Department of Youth Affairs.
“The committee, therefore, recommends that this increase in funds should be adequately and judiciously utilised by the department for the training of sportspersons participating in the Asian Games in Hangzhou in China, the upcoming Paris Olympic Games and Para Olympics in 2024.” The panel also noted that with the budgetary components of Khelo India programme and the Sports Authority of India (SAI) constituting a significant amount of the total budget of the department of sports, it was important to have a separate ‘demand head’ for better administrative control and decision making.
Khelo India has been allocated Rs. 1,000 crores and SAI Rs. 785.52 crore at the BE stage for the current financial year, totalling to Rs. 1785.52 crore.
The two components amount to 72.50% of the total budgetary allocation of Rs. 2462.59 crore for the sports department.
“The committee is of the opinion that in order to have better implementation of the programmes/schemes of the department of sports with better administrative control and decision making over these issues, there is a need to have a separate demand head.
“This way it can place its achievements in a better way before the Ministry of Finance for enhanced allocation of budget in future. The committee recommends that the Department of Sports should pursue with the Ministry of Finance to create a separate Demand Head for it,” recommended the panel.
The committee also recommended that the sports department should further strengthen its monitoring mechanism “so that gainful and optimum utilisation of funds is ensured”.
The panel also recommended prioritisation and utilisation of funds in flagship schemes such as Khelo India and Sports University in North East Region and also remove bottlenecks in the utilisation of funds.
It noted that Khelo India is one of the most important schemes for promotion of sports in the country and efforts should be made to widen its horizon, adding that the panel should be apprised of infrastructure development for the two projects.