Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal on Thursday underlined the need to accord top priority to sports to take the nation's Olympic medal tally from 6 to 60.
After inaugurating the 4th Global Sports Summit 'Turf 2012', organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) here, Sukhbir said, "We, a nation of 1.2 billion people, just have a union sports budget of Rs 700 crore compared to our expenditure of thousands of crores of rupees on organising international sports events such as the Commonwealth Games. He demanded a minimum of Rs 10,000 crore as the sports budget, besides provision of special treatment of budding sportspersons at the education and employment levels.
The deputy CM said the Punjab government had implemented a comprehensive sports policy and increased its sports department's non-plan budget threefold, besides creating a dedicated sports fund of Rs 35 crore per annum.
Sukhbir was accompanied by Jalandhar MLA and hockey Olympian Pargat Singh; Kalpana Mittal Barua, principal resident commissioner; Manvesh Singh Sidhu, special principal secretary to deputy CM; and Shiv Dular Singh Dhillon, director, sports, Punjab.