Eying Olympic medals, sports ministry ups financial parameters

Guwahati, Oct 27 (IANS) Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said here on Tuesday that the government has made upward revision of various financial parameters under the Scheme of Assistance to National Sports Federations (NSF) to boost the preparation of Indian athletes for the 2016 Rio Olympics, enhancing the medal hopes of the country.

Sonowal said that as per the revised norms, the amount for holding National Championships has been revised from Rs.2 lakh to Rs.5 lakh for seniors, Rs.7 lakh for juniors and to Rs.10 lakh for sub-juniors, adding that this will help in identifying young sporting talent.

“In order to promote traditional tournaments, a new provision of assistance of up to Rs.5 lakh each for such events has been made. Such tournaments will be identified by a committee of experts. Assistance of Rs.25 lakh will be available for holding prestigious tournaments in India,” said Sonowal, adding that this will help improve the quality of tournaments.

The minister further said it has been decided that senior players and coaches will be allowed to travel by air, in economy class, for a distance beyond 500 km.

“Similarly, junior players will be allowed to travel by air in economy class for a distance beyond 1,200 km. Sub-junior players will be allowed to travel by AC III tier,” he said

Earlier air travel was not admissible and senior players used to travel by AC II tier and junior and sub-junior players by sleeper class for domestic competitions.

“Air travel has also been allowed for coaching camps and competitions held in the north-east. Similarly, athletes from north-east will be allowed air travel from their coaching camps to and from Kolkata,” Sonowal said adding that medical insurance of Rs.5 lakh and personal accident policy of Rs.25 lakh for athletes has also been allowed.

“For international events held in India, the quantum of financial assistance has been enhanced from Rs.10 lakh to Rs.30 lakh per tournament. The assistance can be utilised for boarding, lodging, transportation, rent of play fields, cost of consumable equipment, certificates, medals, awards and prize money. Prior to the revision, there was no provision of assistance for prize money,” the minister said.

He added that the salary of various support personnel has also been substantially hiked.

“High performance specialist coaches with a remuneration up to Rs.2 lakh per month can be engaged by Sports Authority of India (SAI) or NSFs for sports disciplines included in mega events. The salary of chief coach has been enhanced to Rs.1.5 lakh 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,” he added.

Sonowal said the NSFs have been allowed to procure equipment up to Rs.10 lakh and that the procurement above that amount will be done by SAI. Also, evaluation of athletes’ performance from the sports science point of view has been allowed.

“An amount of Rs.1,500 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,” Sonowal added.

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