The fund that's going nowhere
Sports ministry scheme flourishes more on paper than at grassroots. Navneet Singh reports.india Updated: Oct 04, 2011 01:37 IST
Even as the Sports Authority of India grapples with severe financial constraints due to Commonwealth Games overspending, the sports ministry is liberally allocating funds for the Panchayat Yuva Krida and Khel Abhiyan (PYKKA) scheme. The government's pet scheme, which is flourishing more on paper, received a grant of Rs280 crore this year.Despite the huge amount at its disposal, the scheme, which aims to tap rural talent, hasn't been as productive as envisaged when it was launched 2008. "Lack of proper monitoring has impeded the project," said an official. Talking about mismanagement, an accounts officer was recently given the responsibility to supervise the competition section. The state-wise performance evaluation throws up an even more dismal picture. Of the 28 states that come under the scheme, only seven have agreed to hold competitions at district and block level, despite all the states getting financial assistance to conduct tournaments and raise sports infrastructure for the last three years. This year, the PYKKA directorate has spent Rs61.11 crore of the Rs280 crore grant.
Interestingly, there are no checks and measures to monitor the utilisation of grants. "My office regularly sends reminders to states to provide utilisation certificates, but the response hasn't been good. India is a big country and documents sent by states take time to reach us," said PYKKA deputy secretary, sports, C Chinnappa.
Over the last three years, the PYKKA directorate has failed to manage the 48,000 centres spread across the country. Officially, it has 28,000 trained personnel to monitor the centres. How the others centres are functioning is anybody's guess.
"We are facing problems as there are no regular employees. But we are trying to manage things," said Chinnappa.