Sports budget underlying vision: Olympics 2024 and 2028, says Union Sports Secretary

The government on Saturday allocated Rs 2826.92 crore to the sports budget for the next financial year, which is up by Rs 50 crore from the revised estimates of 2019-20.

“We are restructuring Khelo India too so that we can use facilities in the states for regular competitions," said Union Sports Secretary Radhey Shyam Julaniya.   -  Ritu Raj Konwar

The 2020 sports budget aims at giving a boost to India’s ambitions for international success. “The budget meets our present needs and future aspirations. After 60% increase over last year, the big increase would come in 2021-22, as there is a time lag between talent identification and hiring of high-performance coaches to an increased number of trainee athletes,” said Union Sports Secretary Radhey Shyam Julaniya.

A day after the budget was presented, Julaniya told Sportstar, “The (Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports - MYAS) expenditure last year was Rs 1723.01 crore. This year the budget is Rs 2776.92 crore. Thus, there is an increase of more than 60% (Rs 1053.91 crore) compared to the previous year. During the current year too, there is an increase in the budget of Rs 560 crore, from 2216.92 crores to 2776.92 crores. Sufficient funds were made available for MYAS and additional funds were provided in supplementary demands.”

READ| Government allocates Rs 2826.92 crore to sports budget

Sharing the long-term vision, he said, “The provision of Rs 2826.92 crore for the next Financial Year should be seen in the light of expenditure of Rs 1723.01 crore last year. The provision is sufficient to meet our present and projected needs for sports. However, we might need some additional budget for the Department of Youth Affairs in supplementary demands depending upon expenditure at that time.”

Julaniya emphasised, “We have cleared liabilities this year and rationalised the budget accounting with one budget head for one programme/activity. All training programmes now would be funded under Khelo India only. This required reduced allocation for NSFs (National Sports Federations) and SAI (Sports Authority of India).

"Identification of talent for an increase of athletes for training takes time. Similarly, getting high-performance coaches and trainers take time. We aim to accelerate with quality. Our focus is to train a larger number of athletes with high quality to increase the use of available infrastructure. After a 60% increase over last year, another jump would take place now after a year.”
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On the Ministry’s plans, he said, “We're developing a National Center of Excellence for SAI regional centres and other expert necessities. The capacity will be minimum 10,000 athletes who will get high-performance training in 15 disciplines. The focus is to use available infrastructure. This infrastructure should be used three to four times more than now. These disciplines have been identified keeping in mind the 2024 and 2028 Olympics.”

Denying that there was a drop in funds, Julaniya said, “Not at all. On the contrary, we are restructuring SAI which came into existence before 1984. Things have changed, especially in terms of sports science and the number of events. We are creating 50 positions for High-Performance Managers and 100 Chief Coaches. Best coaches will be hired from within the country or outside the country. Training quality will improve because we are concentrating on regular training and not the concept of camps. There is no scarcity of funds but efficient utilisation of resources and facilities is the focus.”

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Julaniya also highlighted the part Khelo India would have. “We are restructuring Khelo India too so that we can use facilities in the states for regular competitions. Say Bhopal, we will concentrate on developing facilities in disciplines other than shooting and rowing. In Bhubaneswar, we won’t be investing in hockey infrastructure. We have close to 15,000 athletes in SAI of whom 10,000 are getting residential training. We want to improve the quality of these residential trainees. We want quality training for them.

"We will attach them with schools. They will get admission in schools in sports quotas. These schools will have residential facilities and this will be done at the district level to ensure that the best athletes compete against the best athletes. Sports should also be organised at the state level in one particular month at all levels so that the academic schedule of the athletes is not disturbed.”