A substantially increased allocation for national championships, enhanced salaries for chief coaches besides air travel, medical and accidental insurance for athletes were among a slew of steps taken as part of the revision done to assist National Sports Federations (NSF). (Read more sports stories here)
The previous government before leaving power, had cut the NSF grant to a flat Rs 2 lakh for senior, junior and sub-junior nationals from Rs 2 lakh, Rs 4 lakh and Rs 6 lakh respectively.
As part of the revision announced by Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal in Guwahati on Tuesday, the amount for senior, junior and sub-junior competitions has been revised to Rs 5 lakh, Rs 7 lakh and Rs 10 lakh respectively.
In another welcome move, the government has decided to sanction air travel for senior players and coaches for a distance beyond 500 kms. The junior players have been allowed air travel for a distance beyond 1200 kms.
Earlier, air travel was not admissible and senior players were travelling by AC II tier and junior and sub-junior players were travelling by sleeper class for domestic competitions.
Sonowal said that "air travel has been allowed for coaching camps and competitions held in the North-East Region. Similarly, the athletes from the North-East Region will be allowed air travel from their residence/coaching camps to and from Kolkata."
Medical insurance policy of Rs 5 lakh and personal accident policy of Rs 25 lakh for athletes has also been approved.
The ministry has finally paid heed to national coaches' long standing demand for better salaries, considering their foreign counterparts earn much more than them.
"The salary of Chief Coach has been enhanced by three times from Rs 50,000 to Rs 1,50,000 per month. Higher salary will also be allowed in specific deserving cases. The salary of other coaches has also been enhanced from Rs 30, 000 to Rs 75, 000 per month. This will incentivise good coaches," said the ministry in a statement.
Sonowal further said, for international events held in India, the quantum of financial assistance has been enhanced from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 30 lakh per tournament.
For the promotion of "traditional tournaments", Sonowal announced a new provision of assistance of up to Rs 5 lakh per event of such kind. An assistance of Rs. 25 lakh will also be available for holding prestigious tournaments in the country.
Besides, the NSFs have been allowed to procure equipment upto Rs 10 lakh. Above that amount, the procurement will be done by Sports Authority of India (SAI).
Evaluation of athletes' performance from Sports Science point of view has also been allowed.
An amount of Rs 1500 per athlete per international participation (if camp is not held before competition) for undergoing evaluation from Sports Science and Medical Fitness point of view will be paid by the Government.