To support World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) mission for clean sports, the government has marginally increased its annual contribution from Rs.2 crore to Rs.2.5 crore in the Union budget for 2021-22 announced on Monday.
However, there is no mention of the budget for the National Anti Doping Agency (NADA). One reason could be that at the moment New Delhi's National Dope Testing Laboratory (NDTL) is under suspension, after WADA took a decision last month to suspend it for another six months for not following WADA guidelines.
It is at the NDTL that athletes' urine and blood samples, collected by the domestic anti-doping agency, are tested. But since NDTL's suspension in August 2019, the samples are being sent to foreign labs for testing.
NDTL was initially suspended for not following WADA's standard guidelines for international laboratories. Additional expenses of sending samples to foreign WADA-accredited labs meant that NADA had to manage within the allocated funds and that, inadvertently, impacted its annual target of testing.
"It's big setback towards anti-doping programme in the country," said an official familiar with the development on the extension of NDTL's suspension.
In December, the sports ministry had announced that India was going to contribute an additional sum of $1million (Rs.7.3 crore) to strengthen WADA's scientific research and intelligent and investigation programme for clean sports.
Probably the reason why the Union government increased the revenue (revised budget) for the 2020-21 budget from Rs.2 crore to Rs.10 crore was to enable the sports ministry to make the $1million (Rs.7.3 crore) contribution to WADA for the research.
The government was expecting WADA to send its panel for onsite inspection of NDTL to revoke the suspension as the lab has updated itself with WADA guidelines for laboratories. But the global anti-doping agency is yet to reinstate NDTL accreditation. It means NDTL can't carry out its activities, including analysis of urine and blood samples of athletes.
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