Jaitley sporting enough to think of Indian sport (Comment)

Published: July 10, 2014

By Veturi Srivatsa

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is, perhaps, the first finance minister who paused during his “Super” budget speech to talk of the needs of Indian sport and also doled out fat sums to the youth affairs and sports ministry in his budget allocation.

For the 2014-15 fiscal, Jaitley has proposed Rs.1,769 crore for Youth Affairs & Sports as against the previous year’s alocation of Rs.1,207.76 crore. The allocation works out to an increase of 46 percent and it should be wholeheartedly welcomed by sportspersons in the country, even if it is a small beginning keeping in mind the overall context of Indian sport.

Ironically, Jaitley is associated with a sport which is seen as elitist by sportspersons of other disciplines only because of the status the cricketers enjoy and the money they command for their performance. Till recently he was the vice-president of the Indian Cricket Board and president of the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA).

One of Jaitley’s predecessors and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) colleague Yashwant Sinha was also closely connected with sport, as president of the All India Tennis Association (AITA), but not even he thought of Indian sport as much as he has done. Another finance minister, C. Subramaniam was also a president of the AITA when it had Lawn included in it (AILTA) and was a keen sports follower but during his time the government could not think of sport in a big way.

Most finance ministers had a perfunctory interest in sports and at least one of them Chaudhury Charan Singh tried his best to cut down on the budgetary allocation for the 1982 Asian Games, saying money need not be wasted raising flyovers all over Delhi for the Games!

Like in most decisions by this government, surely this spurt in the budgetary allocation will also be credited to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, more so the Rs.200 crore allocated for refurbishing the stadiums in the Kashmir valley. Last week, Modi was in the valley and talked of every Indian’s desire to see that the state made progress and the youth got employment.

Carrying forward Modi’s sentiments, Jaitley unveiled some sort of a vision document of the government for sport. Detailing, he said national level sports academies will be set up for major games in different parts of the country with international level facilities for training of accomplished athletes and for nurturing best talent in shooting, archery, boxing, wrestling, weightlifting and various track and field events.

Jaitley is right, and one need not go into the reasons, that J&K has a lot of sporting talent which is not “finding expression due to inadequate sports facilities”. Cricket all-rounder Pervez Rasool forced his way into the India team by the sheer weight of his performance and so has footballer Mehrajuddin Wadoo.

Modi’s stamp could also be seen in the allocation of Rs.100 crore for setting up India’s first sports university in Manipur. Like in the case of J&K, Modi promised to carry forward Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s vision for north-east.

If India has to encourage winter sports in a big way, J&K has to be the nodal state along with its neighbour Himachal Pradesh, and if archers, boxers, footballers and even hockey players have to be promoted, north-east is the place to concentrate on.

He has gone a step further and talked of unique sports traditions in the countries and states around the Himalayan region by holding an annual event inviting sportspersons from Nepal and Bhutan.

Jaitley has also not forgotten to help the sportspersons preparing for the Commonwealth Games in a fortnight in Glasgow, Scotland, and the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, in September-October. The national sports federations will be a relieved lot as the sports ministry expressed its inability to fund the trip to the two major sporting events and asked the federations to pay for their passage. Now the Rs.100 crore will come in handy to bale them out.

On paper, most of the decisions announced by the Finance Minister sound appealing, but it has to be seen when it comes to the implementation and the time-frame to complete the projects.

Jaitley deserves to be complimented for sparing so much time in his budgetary speech for sports and the good money he has allotted. A good beginning by the government and at least one veteran sports administrator, also from Jaitley’s party, Vijay Kumar Malhotra, would be happy. He is one sports administrator who has over the years held forth soon after the budget presentation to slam the government for not spending enough on sports.

(Veturi Srivatsa is the Sports Editor of IANS and the views expressed are personal. He can be reached at v.srivatsa@ians.in)

IANS 2014-07-10 19:30:05

[+]

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,



Readers Comments (0)

Comments are closed.

Featured

attack on Parliament Hill

Soldier, gunman who died in Ottawa rampage identified (w/photos, video) [updated]

ANDREW DUFFY OTTAWA CITIZEN Updates at 5:10 p.m. Soldier killed in War Memorial confirmed as Cpl. Nathan Cirillo Suspect, reportedly Canadian-born Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, killed in Centre Block shootout Police call situation…
Continue Reading »

Parliament gunman shot

Shaken Surrey MPs Jasbir Sandhu, Jinny Sims calling from scene of Parliament shooting (w/photos, video)

TOM ZYTARUK SURREY NOW OTTAWA — Surrey MPs Jasbir Sandhu, Jinny Sims and their New Democrat colleagues were in a party caucus meeting in Ottawa…
Continue Reading »

LIBERTY MEDAL

Stephen Harper cancels Malala Yousafzai citizenship ceremony in light of Ottawa shooting

THE CANADIAN PRESS TORONTO – Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s office says two scheduled events today in Toronto with Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai have…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

Parliament hill

Narendra Modi condemns ‘extremely disturbing’ Ottawa shootout

IANS New Delhi – Prime Minister Narendra Modi described Wednesday’s shootout near the Canadian parliament in Ottawa as “extremely disturbing”. “News of the attack in…
Continue Reading »

attack on Parliament Hill

Soldier, gunman who died in Ottawa rampage identified (w/photos, video) [updated]

ANDREW DUFFY OTTAWA CITIZEN Updates at 5:10 p.m. Soldier killed in War Memorial confirmed as Cpl. Nathan Cirillo Suspect, reportedly Canadian-born Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, killed in Centre Block shootout Police call situation…
Continue Reading »

Parliament gunman shot

Shaken Surrey MPs Jasbir Sandhu, Jinny Sims calling from scene of Parliament shooting (w/photos, video)

TOM ZYTARUK SURREY NOW OTTAWA — Surrey MPs Jasbir Sandhu, Jinny Sims and their New Democrat colleagues were in a party caucus meeting in Ottawa…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

Vancouver-Surrey-Festival-India

Diwali celebrations in Vancouver and Surrey

DiwaliFest celebrates its 11th anniversary from Oct. 17 to 26 at various sites in Surrey and Vancouver. Diwali Celebration Friday, Oct. 24 at Firehall Centre…
Continue Reading »

Facebook photo showing Martin Rouleau

Canada is Losing the Values War

UJJAL DOSANJH SPECIAL TO VANCOUVER DESI The dreaded happened in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, a quiet historic town in Quebec. Many years ago I stayed there for a…
Continue Reading »

Butter Chicken

Light up Diwali with this delicious dinner: Butter Chicken, Basmati Rice with Peas, Chickpea Masala and Gulab Jamun

Indian festival is a fine reason for a feast BAL ARNESON POSTMEDIA NEWS Diwali is India’s biggest festival. People light candles and divas (small Indian…
Continue Reading »

INDIA-WILDLIFE-ELEPHANT

Heartbreaking photos of two elephants electrocuted in India

IANS Siliguri – Two elephants, including a female, were electrocuted in West Bengal’s Darjeeling district Saturday, an official said. The tuskers were found in a…
Continue Reading »

Aman Grewal

Gallery: Army officer’s wife wins Mrs. India Worldwide pageant

IANS New Delhi – Aman Grewal, wife of an army officer, was declared the winner of Haut.Monde Mrs.India Worldwide 2014 here. Grewal, who hails from…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

Jackie Chan

First India-China joint venture film starring Jackie Chan launched

HINDUSTAN TIMES Chinese action star Jackie Chan will star in the first Sino-India joint film production slated to go on the floors in the coming…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood

Saif Ali Khan poses with pants down

IANS New Delhi – Actor-producer Saif Ali Khan was caught and clicked with his pants down while shooting for his new film “Happy Ending”. As…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood

Bollywood actress Alia Bhatt says ‘Going Home’ a special short film

IANS Mumbai – If the masses loved her in movies like “Highway” and “Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania”, Alia Bhatt has again won many a heart….
Continue Reading »