The Union Cabinet on Thursday approved additional funding of Rs 853 crores to prepare for next years Commonwealth Games in New Delhi. The overall budget of Rs 1,620 crores is in the form of a loan to the Organising Committee of Delhi Games at the prevailing government rate of interest.
Official sources said the proposal for additional funds made by Mr M.S. Gills youth affairs and sports ministry was cleared following inclusion of new items such as accreditation, city operations, sponsorship and television rights, security, sustainability and environment and ticketing. These were not included in the Rs 767-crore budget approved earlier.
Further, change in the scope of work and cost escalation in respect of accommodation, catering, opening and closing ceremonies, protocol and "Commonwealth Games Federation relations" as well as the Queens Baton Relay has also led to the increase in budget.
An increase in the number of volunteers to 30,000, a hike in rent for the Organising Committees headquarters and the expansion of the Queens Baton Relay (international leg increased from 136 to 240 days; domestic leg from 60 to 100 days) also necessitated the budget increase. In the earlier budget, there was virtually no allocation for headquarters rent and for "technology". Now sums of Rs 175 crores and Rs 200 crores respectively have been earmarked for these. The revised budget also factors in risk management (insurance), communications and "image and look" expenses.
The OC is expected to generate revenue to the extent of Rs 1,708 crores against the loan by the government.
It might be recalled that Commonwealth Games Federation chief Michael Fennell had during recent visits expressed concern about lack of preparations in key operational areas. The OC is responsible for 34 functional areas, including accreditation, Games family, opening and closing ceremonies, publicity, reception, results, management and sponsorship. Besides the regular events in 17 sporting disciplines, the OC will also hold competitions for elite athletes with disability.