The Sports and Youth Affairs Ministry has moved the Cabinet note for inter-ministerial consultations on the revised Sports Development Bill, which seeks to bring about accountability and transparency in the running of sports affairs in the country.
The Bill, which has drawn support from various quarters including eminent sportspersons and members of the civil society, is aimed at bringing about efficiency and transparency in the working of the National Sports Federation (NSF) and seeks to bring it under the purview of the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
The Bill has already drawn sharp criticism from the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and the Board for Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) who strongly opposed their being brought under the RTI purview and have resisted efforts to introduce accountability and transparency.
“The Cabinet note seeks views of the various Ministries on the revised draft that has been moved according to the directions of the Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh,’’ a senior official remarked. The Prime Minister had asked Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Ajay Maken to amend the original legislation and bring it before the Union Cabinet after carrying out certain amendments.
The Sports Minister is of the firm view that the time has come for a change in the way sports and games are administered in the country, and believes that the legislation is important for India to emerge stronger on the global sports map.
After the process for seeking views of the various Ministries is completed, the legislation would be posted before the Cabinet for approval. Mr. Maken has already expressed his desire to introduce the Bill in the Winter Session of Parliament that began on November 22.
The Bill seeks to provide 25 per cent reservations for sportspersons in the NSFs and also fix the age and tenure limitations. Mr. Maken’s crusade to push through the Bill got a shot in the arm after the civil society group NCPRI including civil society members Aruna Roy and Prashant Bhushan announced their backing for the legislation.