Policy draft aims to clean up sport, but cricket left out of purview

Saba Nayakan Kolkata | Updated on July 14, 2013

Fast track: Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Youth Affairs and Sports Jitendra Singh (file photo).

The much-awaited Draft National Sports Development Bill (2013) is out in the public domain for feedback from all, including key stakeholders. The long overdue Bill is expected to help sports move in the right direction in the country. At the same time, the Bill will bring about reforms in the management and governance of sport in order to make it more responsive, responsible and result-oriented.

The policy owes a lot to the persistent efforts of three sports ministers, who contributed immensely to its present shape. Although the credit for giving it a clear outline should go to Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Youth Affairs and Sports Jitendra Singh, the efforts of his predecessors, M.S. Gill and Ajay Maken, too are laudable.

There are many high points in the policy, which was drafted under the chairmanship of former Justice Mukul Mudgal.

But one area that will be of concern all sports lovers is in not bringing cricket within the ambit of the draft, which has mostly dealt with sports included in the Olympics. Cricket being next to religion in this country, the Ministry must actively considerincluding it under the Bill.

The good parts though are many.

On the issue of the age and tenure of an office-bearer of any national sports body, be it the National Olympics Committee or the National Sports Federations, there has been no deviation from the Government’s stand.

The Bill will provide for promotion and development of sports and welfare measures for sportspersons, promotion of ethical practices in sport (including eliminations doping practices, age fraud and sexual harassment), constituting and establishing bodies to deal with sports disputes, ethics, elections and athletes’ representation, among others.

The draft policy has given a lot of importance to athletes who have served the country with great distinction. At the same time, the Bill will restrict the role of politicians, especially those who hold ministerial positions.

Similarly, serving bureaucrats and those found guilty under the law will have practically no say in running sport in the country.

Overall, the Bill promises to bring order to the sporting fraternity.

Published on July 14, 2013

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