IOA urges govt. to treat sports as a priority area

 IOA urges govt. to treat sports as a priority areaNew Delhi: Indian Olympic Association (IOA) on Sunday urged the Union Finance Minister to treat Sports as a priority area while formulating his budget for 2012.

“World over, countries are spending huge amount of money to boost and develop sports and it’s infrastructure, in India it has yet not been given the importance it deserves. The funds allotted   for sports in the budget are always very small and   do no justice to the mammoth sports fraternity spanning all over the country.” IOA acting president Vijay Kumar Malhotra wrote in a letter to Parnab Mukherjee.

“I will also request you to put sports in a priority category so that in future Sports federations are not starved of the funds for training, competitions and   sending teams abroad.”

“In India, a sport   has never been considered as a priority area and that is why we are lagging behind. Though 2012 being the Olympic year, Sports Ministry is helping   us in the preparation of the squad for the London Games, but I will urge you to allocate much larger fund for Sports this year   so that it becomes a trend and pattern for future budgets” Prof Malhotra said.

“ While IOA appreciate Government’s financial support for the Olympic Games, I will like it to become broad based   keeping in view other multi-discipline International Events like Asian Games, Commonwealth Games and individual disciplines World Championships”.

Now that  the government has raised the Member Parliament Local Area Development (MPLAD) fund to Rs. five Crore each, the Hon’ble Members be allowed to spend at least Rs one crore from this spend on holding International/National /Local and club level sports competitions in their areas and also to help build  sports infra structure in their respective constituencies. This hundreds of crores fund will go a long way in uplifting the sports in the country.

“It is also requested  that minimum of ten percent of the budget allocation for the Rural Development ministry be earmarked for promotion of sports at the grass root level through panchayats and local area bodies."

The government has spent crores on the building of stadia in the capital for the Commonwealth. I am pained to inform l you that they are becoming very expensive junkyards in absence of proper upkeep. I suggest that a separate fund is created for their upkeep and maintenance with a clear proviso that International and National competitions are organised and held there regularly.

“Given the size of the country and burgeoning youth population interested in Sports, I request you to please allocate at least Rs. 4,000 crores for Sports this year. The increase budget allocation for sports can be used, among other things, for following purpose:
For the construction of 200 bedded modern Hostels in Five SAI Stadia renovated for the Commonwealth Games so that National Coaching Camps may be organized in these Stadia.

Provide equipment of International standard to prepare the Indian contingent not only for the Olympic but also for the next Asian and Commonwealth Games.

To renovate and upgrade the existing sports infrastructure of Sports Authority of India, Training Centres in the remote areas which are in dilapidated condition.

Increase in Government Grants for holding of National level champions (in all age groups).The existing grants was fixed 10 years ago-Now the cost of holding these events has gone up many folds.