Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: Despite an increase in the allocation for sports in the Union budget, no additional funds have been made available for the preparation of the teams for the 2010 Commonwealth Games (CWG) to be held here.

At a total of Rs. 494.56 crore, the overall sports budget shows an increase of Rs. 50.87 crore from the previous year. As in 2006-2007, a sum of Rs. 150 crore has been allocated for the 2010 Commonwealth Games under the Union Sports Ministry's account. The Delhi State Government would be granted another Rs. 350 crore for improving infrastructure, including civic facilities, ready for the Games.

Though the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) had sought funds to the tune of Rs. 1500 crore up to 2010 for the preparation of the teams for the Games, no special allocation has been made in the Union budget presented in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday.

The Organising Committee for the Games (OCCG) has projected an expenditure of Rs. 95.21 crore for this year that is expected to be met from the Rs. 150 crore allotted for the Games. The Sports Authority of India (SAI) is expected to receive a larger slice of the funds to be routed to the CPWD for renovation of existing facilities.

Year-to-year basis

An OCCG official said that the allocation of funds was being done on an year-to-year basis and the organising committee's total demand was Rs. 900 crore for the conduct of the Games. The Union Government had agreed to underwrite any shortfall between revenue and expenditure of the OCCG. The OCCG had received Rs. 68.58 crore last year against a projected expenditure of Rs 97.87 crores.

The budget shows a nominal increase of Rs. 10.89 crore under "assistance of National sports federations" while incentive schemes for promotion of sports activities show a substantial hike of Rs. 49.50 crore compared to the previous year.

The SAI will get a meagre increase of Rs. 7.87 crore to have an overall allocation of Rs. 181.57 crore including non-Plan expenditure of Rs. 29.42 crore. Despite a record collection of medals in the last Asian Games by Indian sportspersons, the special awards scheme fund has shrunk from Rs. 5 crore to Rs. 3 crore. Under the revised figures for 2006-2007, this figure stood at Rs 2.80 crore.

The budget has also kept a provision of Rs. 50 crore for the Commonwealth Youth Games to be held in Pune in 2008.

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