With the Paris Olympics a few months away, India’s sports sector has achieved been given its highest-ever budget allocation, totalling Rs. 3442 crores. This is an increase from the previous year’s Rs. 3396 crores.
Khelo India, an initiative for grassroots sports development, has got Rs. 1045 Crores. SAI got Rs. 822 Crores. National Sports Development Fund has been given Rs 18 Crores.
During her speech, the finance minister stated, “The country is proud of our youth scaling new heights in sports. The highest-ever medal tally in Asian Games and Asian Para Games in 2023 reflects a high confidence level. Chess prodigy and our Number-One ranked player Praggnanandhaa put up a stiff fight against the reigning World Champion Magnus Carlsson in 2023. Today, India has over 80 chess grandmasters compared to little over 20 in 2010.”
Experts have reacted to the good news.
1. Punit Balan, chairman, MD Punit Balan Group:
“The government’s proactive stance towards sports through this increased allocation of funds will provide the impetus for Indian athletes to shine brightly in international competitions, contributing to the continued growth and success of the country’s success on the global stage. With the Paris Olympics looming on the horizon, we are confident that our youth will make it the best-ever campaign for India.
Our honorable Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, acknowledging the remarkable achievements of our youth in sports, particularly in chess, reflects the bright future of the sport in our nation. We take pride in Raunak Sadhwani, the prodigy of Balan Alaskan Knights, being one of India’s 80 Grandmasters.”
2. Tenzing Niyogi, CEO and League Commissioner of Ultimate Kho Kho:
“Last year, we witnessed a Rs 300 crore increase in sports allocations, which contributed to India’s success in the Asian and Para-Asian Games. The government’s continued commitment is evident in the latest budget, with a total allocation of Rs 3442 crores, which reflects a significant increase from the previous year’s budget. The increased allocations not only boost the morale of our athletes but also serve as a testament to the government’s vision for developing and nurturing sporting talent. As India gears up for the upcoming Paris Olympics, this heightened financial support will pave the way for a promising era for sports in the country.”
3. Suhail Chandhok, CEO, U Mumba:
“The substantial allocation in this year’s budget not just for the sports sector but also for Khelo India will play a pivotal role with regard to grassroots development. This support for our athletes across all sporting disciplines will facilitate more participation and lead to more medals at the Olympics and other international tournaments.
As mentioned by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Indian athletes have been making their presence felt on the International stage and that is a significant indication of our country becoming a sporting powerhouse. Our upGrad Mumba Masters’ athletes Vidit Gujrathi, Harika Dronavalli, and Koneru Humpy securing Medals at last year’s Asian Games 2022 have brought immense pride to Indian chess, with Vidit also going on to secure a place in the prestigious Candidates tournament.”
4. Vikas Gautam, CEO, Yuva Kabaddi Series:
“The commendable allocation in this year’s budget marks a significant stride towards transforming India into a sporting powerhouse. By prioritizing grassroots infrastructure via increasing the Khelo India budget, we are not just investing in facilities but nurturing the latent talent that resides in every corner of our nation. This budget reflects a visionary approach, recognizing that the true potential of our athletes lies in the foundation we build for them today. It’s a resounding commitment to creating a robust sports ecosystem and with our combined efforts I hope this will fuel the aspirations of our youth and propel India to new heights on the global stage.”
5. Aditya Reddy, Co-Founder & CEO of Gamepoint:
“As this was an interim budget, the government did not make any major announcements for the sports sector and the total budget for sports has remained similar to last year with an allocation of 3442 crores for Financial Year 2024-25 compared to 3397 crores in Financial Year 2023-24.
PM Narendra Modi during the inauguration of the Khelo India Youth Games in Chennai stated that the government has resolved to make the country an important centre of the global sports ecosystem. He also highlighted that sports was not just limited to the field, but also presents a huge economic opportunity, he said the country’s sports-related industry will be worth at least Rs. 1 lakh crore in a few years.
Given the positive approach of the government towards sports, we hope that post the lok sabha elections, the new government will increase the budget allocation and announce new measures for the growth of Indian sports.”
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