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Last Updated: May 20, 2007 - 10:48:48 AM
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India's meagre sports funds underutilised: Parliament panel
May 5, 2007 - 7:05:12 PM
It has also not spared the sports ministry.

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[RxPG] New Delhi, May 5 - In a startling disclosure, a top Parliamentary committee has said that India's top sports bodies, including the ministry, underutilises even the 'meagre funds' allocated, resulting in millions of rupees to lapse.

The standing committee on Human Resource Development, in its 195th report on demand for grants 2007-08 of the sports ministry, castigated the ministry, the Sports Authority of India - and its various schemes, for under utilisation of sports funds.

The committee said that it has all these years been 'pleading for more funds' for these purposes.

'Rs. 200 crore - for development of youth who constitute 45 percent of our population and on whom the country is pinning all its hope for future, is just a peanut,' it said referring to the budget allocation for the current financial year.

It pointed out that Rs. 350 crore - have been allocated for sports development and another Rs. 150 crore - for the 2010 Commonwealth Games to be held in New Delhi.

'On the other hand, committee regrets to say that even these meagre allocations are not being utilised completely and properly. Every year crores of rupees are left as unspent balance or being allowed to lapse due to various reasons - non settlement of accounts and pending UCs - being the two most important ones,' said the report presented to Rajya Sabha.

'As a result, crores of rupees are blocked every year and our schemes languish.'

There are six prominent national level schemes currently running. They are: National Sports Talent Scheme, Army Boys Sports Company, Special Area Games, SAI Training centres, Centre of Excellence, and National Coaching Scheme.

The committee pointed to a 'disturbing trend' of the quantum jump in spending of allocations in March every year.

'Such position leads to a situation where we have plan, programmes and targets, but there is no performance,' it said.

The committee, chaired by Janardan Dwivedi, was unhappy that the flow of funds from the centre to states and other implementing agencies take eight to 10 months, and more while some schemes are prepared/declared to be revised/redesigned before they take off.

'The committee has no option but to conclude that our schemes are suffering not merely because of paucity of funds but also because of problems in our delivery mechanism, the procedure we adopt and, above all, the attitude in the administrative machinery,' it lamented.

The 32-member panel pointed out that 'lack of effective mechanisms for monitoring, authentic feedback, objective evaluation etc.' make it difficult to assess the performance of a scheme.

It has also not spared the sports ministry.

'The committee, after going through the replies and other documents relating to demands and grants of various years, including that of 2007-08, arrives at the conclusion that the financial performance/management of the ministry leaves much to be desired,' said the committee in its 49-page report.

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