New Delhi: It is assigned with the job of promoting sports in the country but the Sports Authority of India is severely short-staffed to handle the task as 364 posts are lying vacant in the body which is also facing a crunch of 240 coaches.

Replying to a question in the Lok Sabha, sports minister Ajay Maken revealed that SAI, which should have a strength of 2026 as proposed by the 2003 Expenditure Reforms Committee, has a staff of 1162 employees at the moment.

"This includes Nutritionist (1), Doctors (5), Nurses (3), Nursing Assistants (3) and Hostel Supervisors (14). Further as against the sanctioned strength of 1524 of coaches, there are 1142 coaches posted on regular basis and 142 on contract basis," Maken said in his reply.

To deal with the staff crunch, SAI has been told to fill up the vacant posts at the earliest.

"Keeping in view the immediate requirement, the vacant posts of Assistant Director, Coaches, Juniors Scientific Officer, Junior Scientific Assistants, Accountants and Lower Division Clerks, SAI has already initiated action to fill up these vacancies as per the provisions of the recruitment rules," Maken said.

The minister also gave detailed account of steps being initiated to make the National Sports Federations transparent even though he stated that no "irregularities" have been reported in the NSFs for the last one year.

"In order to bring transparency and accountability in the functioning of the various autonomous sports bodies, government is in the process of formulating a regulatory framework with the objective of promoting good governance among sports bodies," Maken said.

To excel in their field of sports, the government is providing financial assistance under the scheme of 'Assistance to Sports Federations'," he added.

Apart from this, Maken said the government is also providing "financial assistance for specialised coaching of outstanding players through national and international coaches, scientific back-up, participation in international tournaments as part of coaching through its other schemes namely 'Talent Search and Training and National Sports Development Fund'."