A day after the Cabinet send the sports bill back to the drawing board, sports minister Ajay Maken said bringing Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and other sports federations under Right to Information (RTI) is non-negotiable.
We just want transparency and efficiency and RTI ensures that, the minister told HT, in response to BCCI vice-president Rajiv Shukla claim that RTI cannot be made applicable to a private body not receiving any funds from the government.
The section of the RTI Act on its applicability says that NGOs and private bodies receiving direct or indirect benefit from the government comes under ambit of the law.
The BCCI has received indirect benefits from the government worth Rs 60 crore in form of custom duty exemption for the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2011. In addition, the government provides land free of cost for construction of stadiums and does not charge a penny for providing security cover during matches.
Although the ministry insists on RTI, it is open to review the provisions on appointment of office-bearers and the mandatory vision document for developing sports in India.
The draft law debars those above 70 years of age from appointment and limits the tenure to maximum 12 years. I can talk to my cabinet colleagues on this, Maken said.
The ministry is also willing to exempt bodies such as BCCI, which do not receive funds from the government, from the provisions on vision document provided they agree on RTI.
The ministry will start reviewing the bill once it receives minutes of the Tuesday's cabinet meeting having specific objections of the ministers associated with cricket bodies. Six ministers opposed the bill whereas home minister P Chidambaram and defence minister AK Antony spoke in its favour.