Union Budget 2017: What Indian sports industry is expecting

With just few hours left for the Budget to get tabled in the Parliament, the sports sector also has several expectations from the Finance Minister.

For the first time in history, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is set to present the Union Budget on February 1 following its merger with the Railway Budget. Earlier, the budget was usually presented on the last business day of the month of February.

Following the demonetisation move by the Narendra Modi government on November 8 last year, Arun Jaitley with his Budget would definitely like to introduce some reforms to boost confidence among the consumers and suppliers alike.

With just a few hours left for the Budget to get tabled in the Parliament, the sports sector also has several expectations from the Finance Minister for the upliftment of sports in the nation.

Looking for excise cut:

The sports industry would be expecting a cut in the excise duty from sports goods as the industry is already facing a tough competition from China due to heavy imports. In addition, the implementation of the uniform General Sales Tax, which is as similar to the GST (Goods and Service Tax), won’t be less than a boon for the sport goods makers as it would encourage the manufacturers to increase the production of sports goods across the country.

Secondly, this will discourage the practice of importing Chinese goods at low rates and reselling them in the Indian market at higher rates. Also, streamlining and simplification of taxation policies in India would smoothen the import-export process of sports goods.

Looking For Funds:

Apart from the GST, the allocation of a fixed amount for the infrastructure development in complexes and training centers can also be expected in the upcoming budget. This will have a positive bearing on the sports goods industry, and would also encourage the sportsperson to come forward, get technically trained and participate in various competitions across the country and the world.

Insurance To The Players

Not just the facilities and infrastructure, insurance is also a key factor to encourage a player to take part in the sporting event fearlessly as on the back of his mind, he would be sure that in a case of any mishappening, his family and future are secure. The government should consider this fact, too, while allocating the funds for the sports industry.

Infrastructure Development

With International tournaments like FIFA U-17 World Cup scheduled to be held in the country in October this year, budget allocation for the infrastructure development will play a vital part in conducting such tournaments and would also encourage the organisers to conduct them on a large scale to boost the tourism sector, too. More of such event, more will be the number of spectators—not only from India but also from all over the world.

Allocation of funds to the sports association

Amid the development of the infrastructure and enhancement of facilities, it would also be expected that this budget would come up with options for the upliftment of sports in the remote areas so that fresh talents could be spotted, who could make the country proud. The reach of sports like hockey, kabaddi, wrestling etc. must be expanded so that the interested ones could get a healthy opportunity. The Sports Authority of India would also be hoping for an increased amount of fund in last year’s comparison which was Rs 381 crores.

What happened last year?

Following the all-time tradition, the Union Budget was announced on February 29 and following were the benefits allocated to the sports sector:

  1. A hike of Rs 50.87 crore—as compared to Rs 384 crore hike in 2015 budget—was provided to the sports industry. A total of Rs 1592 crores were allocated to the Sports Ministry.
  2. Rs 381 crores were allocated, which is Rs 11 crore more from the previous year, to the Sports Authorities to organize more nationwide sports training camps to spot the right talent.
  3. A hike of Rs 6 crore was provided for Scheme of Benefit for North East to make it Rs 150 crore for the year 2016-17.
  4. To assist the Sporting institutions and Anti- Doping activities, the allocation of funds to National Anti-Doping Agency remained the same as 2015 with funds being Rs 150 crore.