Union Budget 2024: Riding on Olympics ambitions, experts expect significant boost beyond cricket

The Union Budget 2024 is expected to play a critical role in advancing India’s sporting ambitions as India gears up for the Paris Olympics and future Olympic aspirations. Last year witnessed a historic allocation of 3,397.32 crore to this sector, including a substantial boost to Khelo India with 1,045 crore. 

Punit Balan, Chairman & Managing Director of the Punit Balan Group, highlighted the government’s commitment to fostering athletic talent. 

“Considering the Paris Olympics 2024 this year, I hope to see a continued emphasis on encouraging and building future stars. The combination of grassroots initiatives like Khelo India and the professional leagues is essential for nurturing talent and ensuring a sustainable ecosystem for Indian sports.”

Tenzing Niyogi, CEO and League Commissioner of Ultimate Kho Kho, stressed the necessity for strategic Budget allocations for diverse sports.

“Aligning with the nation’s vision to host the 2036 Olympics under the leadership of our honourable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, we expect a strategic allocation for non-cricketing sports for infrastructure and talent development across diverse sporting disciplines. Furthermore, the allocation of funds from NSF is also of utmost importance as it will serve as a catalyst for nurturing grassroots programs and identifying as well as developing raw talent,” he said.

“An increase in the National Skill Development Fund is also imperative. This is not only in line with making India a multisport-playing nation but also with the creation of more opportunities through the PPP model to engage and entice additional corporate participation in the Sports Movement,” he added.

U Mumba CEO Suhail Chandhok underscored the significance of directing resources towards the development of indigenous sports leagues, talent identification and grassroots initiatives.

“With the rapid development of emerging homegrown sports leagues, we anticipate an allocation of funds to elevate their prominence in the country. We also hope for a strategic focus on talent identification and grassroots development which to me are crucial pillars for creating a vibrant sports ecosystem. Investing in these areas will not only promote but also contribute to the sustainable development of diverse sporting disciplines,” he said.

Vikas K Gautam, CEO of Yuva Kabaddi Series, spoke about the need for funding in coach training, infrastructure development and the establishment of international standard coaching facilities.

“The allocation of funds towards the training of coaches is crucial, given the current lack of infrastructure and the absence of internationally standardized coaching facilities. It is imperative to recognize that only well-trained coaches can cultivate athletes to compete at the international level. Emphasis on holistic development programs, focusing on talent identification and nurturing, nutrition, and sports science, to create a well-rounded ecosystem for aspiring athletes,” he said.

Aditya Reddy, Co-Founder & CEO of Gamepoint, focused on the fiscal aspects, suggesting a reduction in GST on sports services and the promotion of sports goods manufacturing in India.

“In order to transform the sports sector in India, it is imperative to encourage and incentivise private sports organisations. This can be made possible by reducing the GST on sports services from 18% to 12%, incentivising the establishment of sports goods manufacturing in India through a PLI scheme for sports equipment, and facilitating access to government, railways, and PSU sports facilities for the general public. If necessary, involving private organizations in managing these facilities under a PPP model can enhance both management and maintenance efficiency,” he recommended.

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Published: 17 Jan 2024, 12:53 PM IST

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