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FICCI Sports Committee to pitch for raise in sports budget allocation to FM

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NEW DELHI: Sports infrastructure is to get industry status in a bid to scale up the availability and accessibility of sporting facilities in the country.

Making this announcement, Sports Secretary Rajiv Yadav from the Youth Affairs and Sports Ministry said there was a dire need to increase the budgetary support to the Sports Ministry to enable it to enhance the allocation of funds to upgrade up sports development in the country, especially in small towns and district level towns.

“The Union Government’s budget for sports was a measly Rs 835 crore,” he said.

The move to give industry status has been hailed by the sporting community and administrators as it will enable corporates to avail of concessional finance for creation of sports infrastructure on a par with international standards.

Addressing Turf 2015-16, the seventh edition Global Sports Summit organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) with the support of the Ministry, Yadav urged the FICCI Sports Committee to make a strong pitch to the Finance Minister to raise the allocation for sports in the ensuing budget.

Yadav said that planning for sports required enlargement of the catchment area for spotting and grooming talent. In this context, he said that his ministry was inspired by the sports ‘khel mahakumbh’ organised annually by Gujarat. It had therefore decided to scale up the National School Games beginning from the fiscal year 2016-17.

Former cricket captain Kapil Dev pointed out that the onus of providing playgrounds in schools rested with the Government and recommended at least 40 per cent of the land for schools should be earmarked for playgrounds. He also underlined to need to reduce customs duties on sporting equipment to enable import and provide top quality sporting gear to sports persons.

FICCI Sports Committee chairman and Star India president and head - sports Nitin Kukreja said there is a need to first recognise the importance of sport for the country, then nurture the economic opportunity that the various leagues and events have thrown up, and get India to play by providing access to facilities already available and by making sport a compulsory part of school curriculum – and match all of this with an ambition.

FICCI DG Dr. Arbind Prasad said that for making India a sporting nation, there is a need for parallel sports both for excellence and grassroots development. FICCI, he said has been proactive in suggesting policy formulation and was working closely with the Sports Ministry and the Sports Authority of India on policy interventions to achieve sports objectives. “We should compare the sports budget of our country with other countries which are leading in sports and give financial security to sports persons to bring about a visible change,” he said.

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