Athletics Federation of India president Adille Sumariwalla believes an increased allocation of Rs. 305.58 crore to the Union Sports budget compared to last year's amount will help the country prepare for the upcoming Asian Games and Commonwealth Games.
"With the increase in the assistance to sportspersons and the amount that has been stipulated for federations, SAI and various schemes like TOPS, I think there will be sufficient support for preparing for the major events this year... Overall, I think it’s a good budget but the important thing will be implementation and utilisation," he said.
Sumariwalla also supported the allocation of funds to develop an infrastructure for winter sports in Jammu and Kashmir. He said, "Another important aspect is the allocation of Rs 50 crores for development of sports, including winter sports, in J&K, which I think is significant. The North-East and J&K are two areas where the youth are desperate for sports facilities and to prove themselves."
The budget also included a hike of Rs. 316.29 crore for the government's flagship scheme 'Khelo India'. From a modest Rs. 97.52 crore when it was introduced in 2015-16, the budget of Khelo India has been raised from last year’s Rs. 657.71 crore to Rs. 974 crore - around 30 percent of the entire sports budget. Sumariwalla feels it would boost grassroot development across the country.
"Of course the enhancement in Khelo India budget should help in developing grassroots sports further and if through it more infrastructure could be created then instead of having limited big centres like Patiala or Trivandrum you can have smaller several facilities with a more even spread across the country. Significant amount is also being put in E-pathshala which can help reach out to people in rural areas even where coaches are not available or not well trained," Sumariwalla said.
Harsh Jain, CEO and co-Founder of Dream11, said,"We welcome the budget's focus on promoting start-ups and giving impetus to the digital economy. Our aim at Dream Sports is to keep growing India’s digital sports tech ecosystem to become the largest in the world, just like the Indian fantasy sports industry has become the world’s largest with 12 crore users."
Kunwar Sultan Singh, secretary general of the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) is also happy with how the Sports Budget has turned out."It is a confidence-generating budget so far as the enhancement of funds to sports people are concerned... Let the funds be invested towards the skill development in sports as well as the sports science approach towards excellence... This will surely have a huge impact on the youth towards binding academics with sports, for confident personality development.’’