The government introduced two new programmes and raised the sports budget for the fiscal year 2021-22 here on Saturday.

Presenting the budget, Finance Minister Bishnu Paudel allocated Rs 2.74 billion for youth and sports sector.

The government had allocated a budget of Rs 2.36 billion in the previous budget, which was around 40 per cent less than the fiscal year 2019-20.

Apart from reiterating promises of infrastructure development across the nation, Minister Paudel said the retired athletes would be provided with easy loan to run business and that the government would start the feasibility study of sports university in the country.

Minister Paudel said the government would complete the International-standard Madan Bhandari Stadium in Damak, Jhapa within two years, while he allocated budget to complete six other cricket stadiums - Baijanathpur (Morang), Mulpani (Kathmandu), Bhairahawa (Rupandehi), Lamahi (Dang), Nepalgunj (Banke), and Mahendranagar (Kanchanpur).

He also said the Pokhara Stadium would be completed within one year.

Minister Paudel reiterated that the government would start the construction works of provincial stadiums in Dhangadhi, Birendranagar, Nepalgunj, Birgunj, Janakpurdham and Itahari and said he had allocated budget for one each sports complex in 168 local level. Paudel said he had allocated necessary budget for high-altitude sports centre in Solukhumbu, Sindhupalchowk, Manang, Mustang and Jumla.

He added: "We will promote medal-oriented sports disciplines apart from international participation."

A version of this article appears in the print on May 30, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.