The country's premier sports institute, NIS Patiala has been demerged from the Sports Authority of India in the wake of the athletics doping scandal, sports minister Ajay Maken announced on Wednesday.
Maken said that the NIS Patiala will now be made an autonomous 'Institution of National Importance' with the aim to produce better home coaches and thereby reducing the dependence on foreign experts like the Ukrainian Yuri Ogrodnik whose six wards were caught for doping.
"We have decided to demerge National Institute of Sports Patiala from the SAI and make it an Institution of National Importance. The primary role for NIS would be producing world class and qualified coaches for various sporting disciplines rather than the currently prevalent, dominant role of holding training camps for athletes," Maken told a press conference in New Delhi.
"We have been overdependent on foreign coaches for long. We need to rectify that and the NIS Patiala should play that role of producing better Indian coaches. By doing that we can minimise incidents like the one that happened with the Ukrainian coach regarding the recent doping in athletics," the minister said, referring to Yuri Ogrodnik.
Eight athletes, including double Asian Games gold-medallist Ashwini Akkunji, tested positive for anabolic steroids and six of them were training at NIS when they were caught.
Maken, however, maintained that the decision to demerge NIS from SAI was mooted two months back but the doping scandal involving eight top track and field athletes had hastened it.
Maken said the decision was on the lines of recommendations by the Moolchand Committee Report submitted recently to the ministry.
"I visited the NIS along with the Sports Secretary and other officials and we announced the need for redefining the role of NIS at a press conference there two and half months back. It was done after studying the Moolchand Committee Report of 2007," Maken said.
The Minster said a cabinet note will be moved in the next session of Parliament for introducing a bill to make NIS Patiala an autonomous institute.
Maken said with passage of time, the role of academic division for training of coaches and carrying out sports-related Research and Development work got diluted and the conduct of national camps became primary activity in NIS Patiala and hence there arose a need for redefining the role of the institute.
"With the passage of time, the role of academic division got diluted, especially with the conduct of national camps becoming the primary activity in NIS Patiala and coaching getting relegated in priority.
"As a result, NIS, Patiala has failed to keep pace with the rapid scientific orientation of coaching taking place elsewhere in the world. The present decision to demerge NIS Patiala from SAI is aimed at restoring the position of NIS Patiala as a premier national institute for coaching education," said Maken.
He said the NIS Patiala would now be on the lines of All India Institute of Medical Sciences and have powers to award degrees and diplomas on its own. Maken said the new head of the restructured institute will be a top SAI officials much higher in rank than the current executive director.
"The new NIS would be set up on the lines of the AIIMS and it will award its own degrees and diplomas which would be naturally much more respected than other institutes," Maken said.
"A new society shall be formed within three months and demerger will be carried out by passing resolution in the SAI's General Body. And then a Cabinet note will be moved for introduction of a Bill in the Parliament during the budget/winter session for declaring the NIS Patiala as an institution of national importance," said the minister.
He said the training facilities at the NIS will continue to be made available to SAI for holding national camps as per mutual agreement between the two institutions.
He also envisaged the new institute to be headed by a top SAI official with top-class faculty members, research assistants and others under UGC norms and pay scales.
"The head of the institute is very important. Now the NIS is being headed by an executive director. After restructuring, it will be headed by a top SAI officials. The faculty will also be top class so that good coaches come out of the institute," the minister said, adding that the training camps of top athletes of the country will continue there.
Laying down the ministry's vision, Maken said the NIS would inculcate scientific orientation and holistic system for imparting sports coaching by benchmarking to international standards, promote research applications in different aspects of sports coaching, strengthen international cooperation arrangements with other nations in coach training and exchange of experts.
Regarding the objectives of the institute, Maken said it would develop and promote a flagship three-year integrated graduate programme in sports coaching which will cover various aspects related to coaching, including physiotherapy, nutrition, sports technology, sports science; offer specialised diploma courses in different aspects of sports coaching; strengthen existing M.Sc course in coaching; offer a general one-year diploma course as a vocational option for students passing out of 12th standard.