Government puts focus on Khelo India scheme in budget

Widening the scope of its flagship Khelo India program, the Government announced the setting up of a National Sports Education Board in the first budget of its second term.

The champion Maharashtra team at the end of Khelo India Youth Games in Pune.   -  Kamesh Srinivasan

Widening the scope of its flagship Khelo India program, the Government on Friday announced the setting up of a National Sports Education Board (NSEB) in the first budget of its second term.

The allocations from the interim budget in February earlier this year were left untouched in the full budget presented by finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman here.

“Khelo India Scheme, launched in October 2017, has created awareness for sports as an integral part of wellness throughout the country,” she said in her budget speech.

“The government is committed to expand Khelo India scheme and provide all necessary financial support. To popularise sports at all levels, a National Sports Education Board for development of sportspersons will be set up under Khelo India Scheme.”

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The Sports and Youth Affairs Ministry had got a substantial raise of Rs 214.2 crore in the interim budget presented in February. The allocation was raised from last year’s Rs 2002.72 to Rs 2216.92 crore.

The allocation to the Sports Authority of India was increased by Rs 55 crore to Rs 450 crore. The SAI is the nodal organisation to manage nationals camps, provide equipment and other logistics to the country’s sportspersons.

The Khelo India National Programme for Development of Sports had also got a hike of Rs 50.31 crore in the interim budget, going up from Rs 550.69 crore to Rs 601 crore. Besides, the allocation for NSDF has increased from Rs 2 crore to Rs 70 crore.

The incentive fund for the sportspersons was also raised from Rs 63 crore to Rs 89 crore.

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However, the assistance to National Sports Federations (NSFs) was slashed slightly from Rs 245.13 crore to Rs 245 crore.

The overall allocation for encouragement and awards to sportspersons was increased by Rs 94.07 crore. The previous allocation stood at Rs 316.93 crore and will now be Rs 411 crore.