Sport in India is often spoken of as a victim of Government neglect. The Common Wealth Games (CWG) scam has exposed apathy as well. An argument often made is greater participation of the private sector in sports infrastructure. A National Sports Development Fund (NSDF) was created in 1998 with the promise of combining private and public spend to better fund talent and infrastructure. What has it done all these years? Very little as IndiaSpend’s Sourjya Bhowmick finds out.

Before we go ahead, let’s take a look at some recent developments. Around the time of the Formula 1 (F1) race in Noida in October 2011, the Government & Jaypee Sports International, the developer of the 5.1 km Buddh International Circuit, were locked in a controversy over payment of customs duty on consumables imported for the race. The Sports Ministry refused to grant an exemption to Jaypee and the latter resisted.

It also emerged that Jaypee was committed to pay Rs 10 crore annually to the same NSDF as part of its contribution to the Government’s exchequer for hosting the F1 race. The Government called this a 'sanctioning fee’ and said Jaypee would have to pay all duties as well since it was a private body hosting the event.

Sanctioning Fee To Fund Hockey Academy

Sports Minister Ajay Maken was even quoted saying at the point: “The ministry has also charged Jaypee Group a sum of Rs 100 crore at the rate of Rs 10 crore per year as sanctioning fee. This will go into the NSDF. Since each contribution to the fund is matched by the Finance Ministry, we will have a corpus of Rs 20 crore. The first year we will use this to help build a hockey academy at the National Stadium."

Around this time, IndiaSpend also filed a Right To Information (RTI) petition with the Sports Ministry seeking more details on the composition of the Fund as well as the expenditure incurred.

NSDF Not Spending Enough?

Interestingly, almost a day or two after we received a response, the Sports Ministry put out a formal release saying that it has spent Rs 9.41 crore as a part of its National Sports Development Fund, since its inception in 1998 till 31st December 2011. This seems to suggest that the Fund has been mostly inactive in the period that it could have been quite active. Particularly since this was a period where much investment went into many other areas in the economy. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) also reportedly kicked up a row asking what was happening with the funds that the NSDF was raising since it was a key contributor.

IndiaSpend's RTI sourced details about the contributors to this fund and the various beneficiaries. The insights are not so much about what was spent but what was not.

Over Rs 86 cr Contributed to NSDF

The total funds in the hands of the NSDF as of 31st of December, 2011 are Rs 90.21 crore. The contributors are the BCCI, Rai Foundation, State Governments of Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Maharashtra and Jaypee Sports International Limited. BCCI was the highest donor till date when it contributed Rs 35 crore in the year 2008-2009.

RAI Foundation, a NGO contributed Rs 10 lakh in the year 2009-2010. Government of Madhya Pradesh and Haryana, in the same year contributed Rs 1 crore each. In the year 2010-2011, interestingly there was no contribution from any organizations as well as from the Government of India. In 2011-2012, Jaypee Sports International contributed Rs 10 crore.

Total contributions from all these amounted to Rs 48.10 crore. The Central Government too has been a regular contributor to the fund of the NSDF. Its total contribution till date has been Rs 38.37 crore. However, in 2011-2012 Government of India has not contributed anything till now and in 2010-2011, the Central Government was the only contributor with Rs 20 crore.

Here's a breakup of contributors, other than the Government of India, for the period 2008-09 onwards:

YearName Of The Contributors To NSDFAmount Contributed (in Rs Crore)Government of India contribution (in Rs)
2008-09Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI)3510.25
2009-10RAI Foundation0.108.12
Government of Madhya Pradesh1
Government of Haryana1
2011-12Government of Maharashtra1
Jaypee Sports International10

We also asked about the methods followed to disburse the NSDF's funds, including BCCI's contribution. The RTI response says: “BCCI's contribution to the NSDF has become part of the fund and the money is being utilised to promote sports excellence in the country by providing financial assistance for customized training of elite athletes who are distinct medal prospects at major international competitions etc”.

NSDF Assistance To Organisations

We also got a break up of the NSDF assistance to the various Organizations and Sports Federations. The top 5 beneficiary organisations are:

NamePurposeYearAmount(Rs Crore)
Sports Authority of IndiaAthletic track at Usha School of Athletics2011-20124.92
National Playing Fields Association of IndiaFor Developments of Playfield in New Delhi Municipal Corporation area2010-20111.92
Dibrugarh UniversitySports Infrastructure in 10 colleges2009-2010-20111.81
AB Vajpayee Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports ,ManaliPurchase of Skiing sets of different categories for training/competition purpose2009-10,2011-120.99
Sports Authority of IndiaFor Development of Hockey Arena at Netaji Subhas National Institute of Sports, Patiala2010-20110.97

These are the top 5 of a total of 21 organisations that are mentioned in the RTI response. At the same time, 41 women hockey players were given Rs 90 lakh in the year 2009-2010, 9 footballers of the 1956 Melbourne Olympics were given Rs 16 lakh in 2008-2009 and hockey goalkeeper Baljit Singh was given Rs 33 lakh in 2010-2011, for an eye surgery.

Shooting Gets Lion Share

We had also asked for the list of sportspersons who got assistance from the NSDF. The Sports Ministry put out a list of 36 sportspersons. The top 5 beneficiaries are as follows:

NameDisciplineYearAmount (Rs Crore)
Manavjit Singh SadhuShooting2008-20121.98
Ronjan SodhiShooting2008-20121.91
Abhinav BindraShooting2008-20121.77
Mansher SinghShooting2008-20121.33
9 GymnastsGymnastics2011-20120.90

From the lists, it appears that sportspersons in shooting get the biggest pie. However, sportspersons playing popular sports like Tennis, Boxing, Badminton, and Chess also got assistance and sportspersons like Jamyang Namgial (Alpine Skiing), Tashi Lundup (Cross Country Skiing) and Shiva Keshavan KP (Luge) also got assistance.

Sports infrastructure, particularly for non cricketing sports is what most people would like to see more investment in. Mr Maken’s promised hockey stadium, is a promise we promise to track!