“Special” budget allocation for J&K sports rekindles hope of “achhe din” for players



Jammu, Mar 22 : Although the recently announced budget by the Centre in the Parliament for Jammu and Kashmir is expected to bring about major development in the Union Territory but at the same time, “special” budget allocation for sports, has made sports persons in the UT happy and have rekindled hopes of “achhe din” as it will completely change the sporting scenario in the region, officials said here on Monday.
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman while presenting her Rs 1.08 lakh crore budget for the next financial year 2021-22 for the Union Territory (UT) of Jammu and Kashmir, also announced the allocation of Rs 513 crore particularly for sports, which was hailed by the sports persons as they hope that the financial grant will strengthen and upgrade infrastructural facilities which needs immediate attention across the Union Territory.
“The big announcement for promotion of sports made by both the Centre as well as the UT government of J&K especially for the hilly and far flung areas is a welcome step, which earlier existed only on papers and the perfect example of it is “Khelo India”– the flagship scheme,” said the players.
They said, “Rs 513 crore for the promotion of sports is a big enough grant provided by the Central government to J&K’s government in this year’s budget as there is no dearth of talent in sports but there are hardly any opportunities for the budding players owing to poor facilities despite liberal funding by the centre government.”
Whether it was the erstwhile J&K State or now UT, players continue to be at the receiving end, they alleged and added, “the scheme may have given opportunities to the budding sports persons of the UT to exhibit their sporting skills in various disciplines but it is also true that the target to explore sporting talent in rural areas and increasing participation of women in sports is yet to be achieved by the J&K government.”
The players however, rued that the authorities are eyeing performance with medals at various national and international level competitions which they said is impossible in the absence of adequate sports infrastructure.
“The financial grant of over Rs 500 crores for sports has brought a ray of hope to all stakeholders that J&K government led by Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha will leave no stone unturned to provide all the required facilities to the players so that they can compete at national and international levels with the best in business”, they maintained.
Meanwhile official sources said the Parliamentary Standing Committee in one of its reports in 2018 had also expressed concern over poor coverage of districts under the flagship “Khelo India” scheme.
The report had mentioned that out of the total 17 districts of J&K for which the J&K State Sports Council had received grants to the tune of Rs 6,6,87,000 from the Government of India (GoI) to conduct sporting activities at block/district/state level during 2016-17, only 6 districts of Jammu division were covered under the centrally sponsored scheme.
Of the total 10 districts of Jammu Division, four districts namely Reasi, Ramban, Doda and Kishtwar did not receive a single penny under “Khelo India”.
Jammu, Poonch, Rajouri, Kathua, Samba and Udhampur received grants under the scheme in the same year.
The budget allocation however, have focused on organising premier leagues in four disciplines viz football, kabbadi, volleyball and hockey with the expected involvement of around 8500 participants, to provide adequate opportunity to every willing youth to participate in sporting activity, holding of winter games and promotion of cricket with signing of MOU with Suresh Raina Academy for imparting training to budding cricketers of UT.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *