ASSOCHAM, an apex industry body, has suggested the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports to bring the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) under the ambit of the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

“The BCCI is not a registered National Sports Federation as it does not take any grants from the government and thus it cannot be brought under the RTI Act, but if the National Draft on Sports Development Bill 2013 is finally passed by the Parliament, then BCCI may not be able to use the word ’India’,” said the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India, in a communication addressed to Sports Minister Jitendra Singh.

As per the Draft National Sports Development Bill 2013, only those federations who come under the RTI ambit will have the right to use ‘India’ as the team name.

“The Bill should have its focus on three major aspects viz., encouraging privatisation through public-private partnership (PPP) mode, transforming India as a manufacturing base for sports’ equipment and ensuring job security and incentives to sportspersons,” said D.S. Rawat, secretary general of ASSOCHAM.

“Besides, there is also the need for a clear plan highlighting grassroots and international events, athlete development, sports medicine and science which is critical for growth of sports in India,” he added.

ASSOCHAM has also stressed that the bill should clearly define the role of Sports Authority of India (SAI) comprising its infrastructure related responsibilities and the roadmap to make those productive.

Though the bill proposes to bring in accountability on part of the National Sports Federations and the National Olympic Committee, ASSOCHAM said that central government has a significant role to play in execution of said statues in the bill.

Another significant aspect is that the bill does not specify prescribed norms for people eligible to be in the Election Commission.

“Such norms are extremely important to be specified prior to implementation of the bill as this clause might become extremely controversial while implementation and selection of the Election Commission.

“There is a need for collective efforts of multiple stakeholders in Indian sports sector for successful implementation of the bill by developing strong governance principles and guidelines leading to institutional processes and outcomes promoting integrity, democracy, efficiency and accountability in sports related activities,” said Rawat.

“Strategically set directions and policies together with an organised and targeted approach is required to attain the set objectives of development of sports sector,” he added.

Terming the exclusion of sports from the Companies Act 2013 as a ‘great setback for the sports industry’, ASSOCHAM, in its letter, has expressed concerns over deletion of sports as one of the CSR activities in the Act while it was mentioned in the Draft Bill.

“There is a need to encourage sports and sporting culture in India considering its power to unite people, communities and countries,” said Rawat. “A PPP model would be ideal to support players’ training and sharpen their skills for participating in national and global sporting events, thus sports should be included in the list of activities to be recognised as CSR.”

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