Rathore hails hike in allocation of funds for the Khelo India scheme

Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore addressing a press conference in New Delhi on February 9, 2018
Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore addressing a press conference in New Delhi on February 9, 2018
Union Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore today hailed the  hike in allocation of funds for the Khelo India scheme in this year's budget  asserting that  it will boost the sports at the grass  root  level and help in improving  infrastructure across the country.
Talking to mediapersons here, Col. Rathore said, "The National Programme for Development of Sports, in the form of revamped Khelo India scheme, has received a massive boost in allocation. From Rs 158 crore in 2016-17, the allocation for the programme stands at Rs 575 crore for FY 18-19."
The category that had received the maximum financial assistance is the government's pet project "Khelo India", which has got Rs 520.09 crore after the Rs 350 crore it got last year. In fact, Khelo India constituted 23.67 percent of the total  sports  budget this year.
"Khelo India will see a massive push towards development and upgradation of  sports  infrastructure in the country," he said.
In the budget, the government had hiked the Sports Ministry's allocation by Rs 258.2 crore from the previous year (Rs 2196.36 crore as compared to Rs 1938.16 crore last year).
The Minister was of the view that the Khelo India initiative was aimed at not only bringing a sporting culture but also raising the fitness level of the population. Interestingly, budgetary allocations to the Sports  Authority of India (SAI) this year has been reduced to Rs 429.56 crore, a cut of Rs 66.17 crore.
Asked about this, Sports Secretary Rahul Bhatnagar said, "Many activities which are now in Khelo India were done by SAI in the past. So, now these schemes or activities will get funding from Khelo India and will be out of SAI."
"Then, some schemes like the National Centre of Sports  Science will no longer be under the SAI, they will be done separately," he said.
Col. Rathore said the training of the elite athletes inside and outside the country is funded from the National  Sports Development Fund. The  Finance Ministry contributes an equal amount of sum in this fund. "We are trying to bring in more PSUs to contribute in this fund," he said.
Col. Rathore described Khelo India as a 21st century scheme and asked the National Sports Federations (NSFs) to also think about new ideas. "Fund is not the limitation for transparent NSFs," he said.
“There are so many leagues coming up. There will have to be new ideas, new format in the 21st century. For these kind of NSFs, there will not lack of fans and funds," he said.
"Khelo India Games is a 21st century idea and we are ready to help the NSFs as they are also an essential part of the country's sport. Our mandate is to support the NSFs and not to snap  others' survival."
About the refusal of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to come under the purview of National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) regarding dope-testing of cricketers, he  said, "The Sports  Ministry wants every athlete to be dope tested. Otherwise, the fans will be cheated and their confidence lost," he sai.
"Who is doing dope test (for the cricketers), it is not a problem for the ministry. What we want is all the sports and sportspersons should be free of doping," he said.
The Minister added that  grants-in-aid would be provided to States/UTs, SAI and Universities to develop critical sports and other infrastructure. An amount of Rs 50 crore (at an approximate cost of Rs 25 crore per University, which may go up to Rs.50 crores per University depending on actual requirement) will be earmarked for supporting sporting excellence hubs, he said.
A total of up to four such centres are being proposed to be set up per year with supplementary support from the UGC. These centers will cater to both university athletes as well as national level athletes.
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