The Union sports ministry on Tuesday announced a five-fold increase in financial assistance to indigent sportspersons. The ceiling for outstanding sportspersons now fallen on hard times has been upped from Rs 36,000 per annum to Rs 2 lakh while assistance for fatal injury has been increased five-fold from Rs 1 lakh.
Assistance for those sustaining non-fatal but serious injury has gone up from Rs 40,000 to Rs 2 lakh while pension for permanently incapacitated sportsperson has been revised from Rs 2,500 per month to Rs 10,000.
Medical assistance for indigent sportspersons too will increase from Rs 40,000 to Rs 2 lakh as will the amount their families will get after their death. From Rs 20,000, help for coaches, referees and umpires will now be Rs 50,000.
The list will be revised annually to include more indigent sportspersons and coaches and the budget from the National Welfare Fund for Sportspersons (NWFS) will increase accordingly. Rajesh Malhotra, director, media communications (sports ministry), said Rs 1 crore has been allocated for those who had us wowing in the past but can't sustain themselves now.
“We will continue revising it every year depending on the requests we receive,” Malhotra said, adding that applications could come individually but preferably through the state associations as they “would know the antecedents of the sportsperson.” “The scheme for indigent sportspersons will include paralympic athletes and those who have played at the state, national or international level in all disciplines including cricket. There will be no discrimination between disciplines,” Malhotra said.
Not just that, the Dronacharya, Dhyanchand, Khel Ratna and Arjuna Awards too would carry more monetary benefits from 2009. The Khel Ratna Award winner would get Rs 7.5 lakh from Rs 5 lakh and the amount for the Dronacharya, Dhyanchand and Arjuna Award winners has been increased from Rs 3 lakh to Rs 5 lakh.