In a surprise move, the Finance Ministry proposed that it intends to reduce the budget allocation of Youth Affairs and Sports’ Ministry by at least one-fourth of what is provided in the previous year. The decision from the Finance Ministry comes after going through the poor spending record of the Sports ministry in the first half of the fiscal.
As proposed, there could be a reduction of Rs 350 crore for Sports and Rs 139 crore for Youth Affairs owing to low spendings in the previous fiscals. If the proposal comes into effect, an overall deduction of Rs 490 crore in on cards out of a total allocation of Rs 2,196 crore.
The data available with the Controller General of Accounts reveals that the Ministry has spent only 27% of the funds between April and September, which accounts to Rs 595 crore. Similarly, during the first half of the year 2017-18, the ministry has spent only 47% of the allocation raising questions on unutilized funds.
If the Ministry had funds in excess with no further options to spend the allocation, does it mean that sports in India had every facility with no further scope for development?. We all are worried about India not performing well in Olympics when compared to China and other countries, but when the Union Sports Ministry is negligent to even spend funds properly what result could one expect?. There are numerous complaints from sportspersons around India over improper infrastructure and unavailability of minimal basic facilities..when such news often make headlines, it is interesting to see how come the Sports ministry is high on savings without using the budget for the intended purpose.
The sports ministry is reportedly in talks with Finance Ministry and is likely to put forward its arguments against the budget cut. It might bring to the notice of the FM that reduction in budget allocation would hamper the likelihood of funding athletes under the Khelo India scheme, a talent search program launched in 2016.