Will Budget 2024 help bring home Olympic medals?
4 min read • Updated: January 20, 2024, 2:39 PM
Last year, the Union Budget 2023 witnessed a historic allocation of ₹3,397.32 crore to India's sports sector, including a boost to Khelo India with ₹1,045 crore. 2024 budget is expected to emphasise the development of indigenous sports leagues, and talent identification. This year’s budget allocation is a significant step towards fostering athletic talent and building future stars in the 2024 Olympics.
Interim Budget of 2019 In 2019, the then-acting Finance Minister (FM) Piyush Goyal announced the establishment of a National Sports Education Board under the Khelo India programme. There is a pressing need for funding for sports outside the cricketing arena, as well as the enhancement of infrastructural facilities and talent scouting across various sports disciplines. Sporting disciplines such as archery, athletics, badminton, basketball, boxing, football, gymnastics, hockey, judo, kabaddi, kho-kho, shooting, swimming, volleyball, weightlifting, and wrestling were encouraged. It also aimed to lay a foundation for esports. It was an initiative geared towards preparing the young nation of India for new age skills as well such as artificial intelligence, IoT big data, 3D printing, virtual reality, etc.
Budget 2023 FM Nirmala Sitharaman announced the FY23-24 budget allocation for the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports in India to be ₹3397.32 crore. This marked an 11% increase over the previous fiscal year’s allocation, signifying the government's heightened focus on the sports sector.
The increased budget allocation has led to significant consequences for various schemes and organisations within the sports sector. The allocation of funds towards the training of coaches has also contributed to enhancing the coaching infrastructure and nurturing aspiring athletes.
Khelo India According to the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports' data, Khelo India has facilitated the identification and nurturing of 4,000 talented youth since its inception. The Khelo India initiative, which aims at nurturing grassroots-level talent identification and developing sports infrastructure, received a budget outlay of ₹1045 crore.
The National Sports Federations and the National Service Scheme both saw an increase in their budgetary allocations, to ₹325 crore each. This increase in budgetary support for sports and youth initiatives highlights the government's commitment to fostering a robust sports culture in the country. The government's attention to infrastructure building, support to elite athletes, and creating equal opportunities for women, persons with disabilities, and youth from remote areas has been instrumental in driving these budget decisions.
Budget Expectations In the upcoming budget, there is an expectation of continued emphasis on furthering India's growth in sports. There are expectations for financial incentives such as a reduction in Goods and Services Tax (GST) on sports services, which currently stands at 18%.
The government in Budget 2024 is expected to put added emphasis on initiatives such as Khelo India, Fit India Movement, Target Olympic Podium, and Mission Olympic Cell. Additionally, the government could also explore ideas like incentivising sports goods manufacturing and engaging private organizations in the management of sports facilities through a Public-Private Partnership or PPP model. These steps can play a pivotal role in the transformation of the sports sector in India, aligning with the nation's ambition to host the 2036 Olympics. It is crucial to strategically allocate budgets for diverse sports, infrastructure, and talent development across various sporting disciplines.
Paris Olympics 2024 The Union Budget 2024 is expected to play a significant role in advancing India's sporting ambitions, particularly in preparation for the Paris Olympics 2024 and future Olympic aspirations. Additionally, experts have highlighted the significance of increased funding for the National Skill Development Fund, the promotion of sports goods manufacturing in India, and the reduction of GST on sports services. These initiatives nurture talent for international competitions, like the Olympics.
Conclusion While the direct impact of Budget 2024 on bringing home the gold from the Paris Olympics 2024 cannot be guaranteed, it is evident that the budget is expected to play a crucial role in advancing India's sporting ambitions.
As a consequence of the budget decisions in 2023, there has been a noticeable impact on the sports sector. The increased allocation of funds has contributed to emerging homegrown sports leagues in the country. Furthermore, the emphasis on talent identification and grassroots-level development has played a crucial role in creating a vibrant sports ecosystem and promoting sustainable development across diverse sporting disciplines.