Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs Ajay Maken said people of the country wanted transparency in running of sports affairs and asserted that he would not dilute the “age and tenure” clauses in the revised Sports Development draft Bill.
Stating that the nation had lost faith in the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), which was primarily responsible for the CWG scams, the Minister told The Hindu that the present state of affairs in the IOA had to change drastically.
“I don't have confidence in the IOA for handling huge amount of funds for sports and sports infrastructure in future,” he remarked.
“I am looking at the 2012 South Asian Federation Games, which India will have to host by rotation. What happens if Suresh Kalamdi, IOA president who is currently in Tihar jail, comes out on bail and again heads the sports body? The nation is looking for transparency and accountability in financial matters and running of sports. We have a duty to ensure it. The same set of people who created a mess during CWG cannot be allowed to run sports in the country.” Stating that the National Sports Federations (NSFs), under the revised draft, would no longer be required to get NOCs for getting financial assistance at the end of every year, Mr. Maken said all their financial and administrative matters would be covered by the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
“We have made few exceptions in matters like selection of sportspersons, health of the athletes and such related matters, but otherwise they will have to run and function in a transparent manner.” The revised draft also covers issues like sexual harassment of the athletes, strict action against age fraud and doping and the setting up of an Appellate Sports Tribunal to be headed by three retired judges of Supreme Court or High Court.
Their selection would be done by a committee headed by the Chief Justice of India and consisting of Secretaries of various departments in the government.
On bringing transparency in the functioning of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), Mr. Maken said the BCCI did not want to get registered with the government or be subjected to the RTI.
On the age and tenure of NSF office bearers, Mr. Maken said the government servant retires at 60 and the retirement age in the judiciary is 65. “The age limit for retirement for sports officials should be less, but we are relaxing it. If an [IOA] president stays at the helm for 12 years, there is bound to be vested interests.” He said the revised Bill had been sent to IOA for comments and only after they send a written response would the government be able to say something on it. “The government is keen to implement this Bill as soon as possible. We are inviting suggestions from various sections and are confident it will soon be law. We hope that everyone supports it,” he stated.
Mr. Maken last week unveiled a revised Bill that retained some contentious provisions, including the age and tenure limitation of the IOA and NSF officials.