Sports minister Kiren Rijiju said the amount allocated for sports for the financial year 2021-22 could be revised if it is needed, asserting that all requirements of athletes heading into Tokyo Olympics are being met.
The central government on Monday allocated ₹2596.14 crore for sports — a reduction of ₹230.78 crore when compared to the amount earmarked initially for the previous year, that was derailed by the COVID-19 pandemic across the world.
“…if needed, there is a provision for asking for revised allocation,” Rijiju said on the sidelines of the launch of Fit India office at the Jawahar Lal Nehru stadium in New Delhi.
In the last financial year, the government had allocated ₹2826.92 crore for sports, which was later revised to ₹1800.15 crore because of the lack of activity caused by the pandemic.
This year’s allocated amount is ₹795.99 crore more than the revised budget of 2020-21.
Rijiju said, “The sports ministry is there to take care and support athletes and National Sports Federations (NSFs). We are there to look after the requirement of athletes and demand of NSFs.
“The funding is for athletes, not NSFs. There will be no shortage of funds for players as and when they require.
“Whatever is the requirement of athletes is always met, be it foreign training or hiring of overseas coaches. Sports is a state subject and the sports ministry is there to provide support to state governments.”
The sports ministry bears the cost of all foreign training and competition, including participation in the Olympics.
The government’s flagship Khelo India programme was handed the biggest reduction — of ₹232.71 crore — among all sports heads for the 2021-22 budget, presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday.
During Wednesday’s event, sports secretary Ravi Mittal said, “If you look at the budget of 2021-22 as against 2019-2020 there is an increase of 19.13 percent. We are not considering the initial budget of 2020-21 because it was an unprecedented year hit by COVID.”
“From the revised figures also there is an increase of nearly 40 percent. Khelo India also got a boost of 72 per cent compared to 2019-2020.
“The contributions towards NSFs has also increased, just in infrastructure development there was slight reduction,” Mittal added.