Hockey lose, Archery gains!!!
Sports Ministry's decision to drop hockey from the priority list might have caught everyone by surprise, but the government's grant to the federation has been steadily cut over last three years. Indian Hockey Federation received Rs. 194.21 lakh in 2004-05 but there was a drastic cut the following year and the federation got only Rs. 96.46 lakh from the government purse for promotion of the game in the country. The amount went down further to Rs. 92.09 lakh in the last financial year (2006-07).
The information was revealed by Sports Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar who gave details of the financial assistance provided to sports federations while answering a question in Rajya Sabha today. The government supplements the efforts of the national sports federations by providing assistance for training and participation or coaching of teams abroad, and procurement of equipments.
Hockey is not alone as some important sports federations have heavily lost on government funding in the last three years. The weightlifting federation, which faced two international bans in two years for doping offences, has been the worst hit. From Rs. 79.88 lakh in 2004-05, and Rs. 51.41 in 2005-06, the grant has come down to a meagre Rs. 3.28 lakh in the last financial year (2006-07).
Athletics, the mother of all sports, was also not spared. In fact, the Athletics Federation of India took the biggest hit with the grants coming down from Rs. 227.95 lakh in 2005-06 to Rs. 86.83 lakh last season, a fall of Rs. 141.12 lakh. The case with All India Football Federation, which has also been dropped from the priority category, is not different. The AIFF got Rs. 119.36 lakh in 2004-05 but could manage only 70.37 the next season. It further went down to 30.55 lakh in the last year. All India Tennis Association got 136.87 lakh in 2004-05 while the grant came down to 90.07 lakh in 2006-07.
The assistance to shooting which got India bulk of the medals in Commonwealth Games and Asian Games was increased from Rs. 218.37 lakh 2004-05 to Rs. 433 lakh next year but fell to Rs. 373.19 lakh in 2006-07. But the picture is rosy for some other federations like Table Tennis Federation of India and Archery Association of India. On the back of some commendable international performance, TTFI's grants have been rising steadily. Form 116.78 lakh in 2004-05, the grants have gone up to 178.75 lakh in 2006-07. Archery's purse was got a hike to 96.48 lakh last year, from 58.95 lakh in 2004-05.