ISLAMABAD: While Ministry of Inter-Provincial Coordination (IPC) has released Rs25 million to sports federations after three years, India has reduced federations’ share in a total sports budget of Rs62.280 billion.
Indian sports federations that were receiving around Rs7 billion annually will now get Rs6.880 billion. The cut of Rs120 million has been introduced mainly because of COVID-19 as there have been no sports activities in India for several months.
A realistic comparison between what the neighbouring country has set aside for sports promotion and what Pakistan government is contributing reveals an unprecedented gap.
In Pakistan, sports federations get less than Rs10 million annually (as revealed by the IPC Ministry record released recently). Despite the cut introduced by India, federations there would still be getting thousands times more.
India has invested heavily in its flagship programme “Khailo India”. Over Rs6 billion extra has been allocated for this programme for the on-going year. The main aim of this programme is to organise youth sports events throughout the country in order to unearth the hidden talent.
As much as Rs5 billion has been set aside for Sports Authority of India.
Separate amounts have also been allocated for infrastructure projects.
Indian corporate sector doubles the amount given by the government to their athletes as in return they get tax incentives.
All these years, federations and athletes in Pakistan have been getting peanuts despite the fact that the country has produced the likes of Arshad Nadeem (athletics), Mohammad Asif (snooker), Saadi Abbas (karate), Shah Hussain Shah (judo), Inam Butt (wrestling), Khalil Akhtar, Ghulam Mustafa Bashir and Gulfam Joseph (shooters), Haroon Khan (taekwondo), Nooh Butt (weightlifting).
The way Pakistan handball team defeated India to win gold in the South Asia Games in Nepal was something extraordinary.
The talented Arshad, who could well turn out to be a medal winner at Olympics, has been confined to Khanewal for the last six months. Such a talent in any country should have been training under a world renowned coach once he proved his worth at international level.