With an increase of 334.72 cr, the government on Wednesday in the Union Budget allocated Rs 3,397.32 crore to the Sports Ministry for 2023-2024 -- a cycle in which the Indian athletes will compete at the Asian Games and prepare for 2024 Paris Olympics.
The Rs 3,397.32 crore is the highest sports budget allocation ever in the country. Last year, the sports sector received a budget of Rs 3062.60 crore.
The Sports ministry's flagship programme, 'Khelo India -- National Programme for Development of Sports' -- has been allotted Rs 1,045 crore as against the revised budget of Rs 606 crore in 2022.
The increase of Rs 439 crore shows the government's priority towards the programme, which has shown the potential to produce athletes for major global events since its inception.
Meanwhile, the Sports Authority of India (SAI) has got Rs 785.52 crore for 2023-24, which is a Rs 36.09 crore increase from the previous year's revised expenditure of Rs 749.43 crore.
The National Sports Federations (NSFs) have received a hike from the previous year's revised budget of Rs 280 crore and will now get Rs 325 crore.
Notably, the government has changed its earlier policy of allocating the budget for the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) and the National Dope Testing Laboratory (NDTL). The NADA) which is affiliated with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the NDTL, which earlier received funding from SAI, will now get it directly.
NADA has got funding of Rs 21.73 crore, while NDTL, which conducts the tests, will receive Rs 19.50 crore during this cycle.
The Sports Budget has also made a provision of Rs 13 crore for the National Centre of Sports Science and Research.