‘Federations need to be brought under the ambit of the Right to Information Act for greater accountability'
A day after the old guard led by Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar forced the Union Cabinet to reject the reformatory National Sports Development Bill 2011, Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Ajay Maken on Wednesday “hit out” at the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) saying it needs to be more transparent and accountable in its functioning to the citizens of the country.
Stating that the proposed Bill had only aimed at making sports bodies more transparent and efficient and was in no way an attempt to take control of the national sports federations, Mr. Maken said: “I would not like to comment on what transpired in the Cabinet on Tuesday. I would just like to reiterate the Sports Ministry's stand and my own stand. We are in no way trying to control the sports federations or sports bodies in the country,” he told reporters here.
Mr. Maken said he was disappointed with the opposition to the Bill by cricket administrators, and said that federations need to be brought under the ambit of the Right to Information Act for greater accountability. “We just want transparency and efficiency in their functioning. Since they are sending teams outside India, they should be answerable to all Indian citizens through RTI. Their accounts should be made public; after all, they are using government funds and sending teams, so we want them to be accountable to the citizens of India,” he added.
For example, people would like to know for how much the BCCI got the land for the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium here or the ground at Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh. “The BCCI should point out what provisions are intrusive in nature and which clauses will have government control. We will remove them but they should not oppose 25 per cent representation of sportspersons in the Executive Board and the RTI,” the Minister said.
Stating that his Ministry would re-draft the Bill after consultations with various quarters including the Ministries, Mr. Maken said: “We don't intend to have our own representatives in any way in any of the managements of these sports bodies. We don't want to direct them,” he said.
Demands age restrictions
On the other hand, he said the board or the federations should have age restrictions for members. “After all, in bureaucracy, we have 60 years as age of retirement, in judiciary it is 65, and in others it is 62-63; we have kept the age limitation at 70 years for sports federations,” he said.
“What we are saying is that 25 per cent of the executive body should consist of sportspersons of the same game, we are not saying that government will appoint that 25 per cent. Sports persons who have played at the national levelshould among themselves elect those who should represent 25 per cent of their executive body. We want to give more power to sportspersons, we want them to be transparent in their accounting and entire process, we want them to be answerable to the citizens of India because they are sending teams which are representing India as a nation,” he added.