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In a first, Sachin Tendulkar to initiate debate in Rajya Sabha

Sachin Tendulkar has submitted a notice to lead a debate on “Right to Play and the future of sports in India” in the Upper House, to which he was nominated in April 2012.

cricket Updated: Dec 21, 2017 09:17 IST
Saubhadra Chatterji
Saubhadra Chatterji
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Sachin Tendulkar,Rajya Sabha,Sachin in Rajya Sabha
For the first time, Sachin Tendulkar will be initiating a full-fledged debate in Parliament.(HT File Photo)

Cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar will bat for the first time in Parliament on Thursday, demanding the “right to play” for children.

Tendulkar, who had often received flak for skipping sessions, has submitted a notice to lead a debate on “Right to Play and the future of sports in India” in the Upper House, to which he was nominated in April 2012.

This will be the first time Tendulkar will be initiating a full-fledged debate in Parliament. Tendulkar’s notice suggests that the former cricketer wants a constitutional right that guarantees inclusion of sports in education curriculum and the availability of sports infrastructure for all children.

Incidentally, two months ago Prime Minister Narendra Modi called upon children to take up sports and other physical activities as he expressed concern over the rising number of obesity cases among Indian children.

About 180 million people in India, including 14.4 million between the ages of two and 19, were found to be obese in a study published this year in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Read | A Rajya Sabha seat is wasted on members like Tendulkar and Rekha

Tendulkar, who retired from cricket in 2013, has found Bharatiya Janata Party member of Parliament (MP) Ranvijay Singh Judev and the Congress’s PL Punia to support his cause, and they too have associated themselves with his notice.

“We are seconding his motion for discussion. I am a sports enthusiast and want to promote sport in tribal areas,” Judev told HT.

If the government wants to go by Tendulkar’s suggestions, it has to bring a bill—in the line of the Right to Education and the Right to Information laws—to amend the existing law.

The only risk Tendulkar faces is that ongoing disruptions may force an early adjournment and spoil his chances of participating in a debate for the first time. Lawmakers across the political spectrum, however, said that given Tendulkar’s stature and the nature of the subject, parties across political lines may agree to the debate.

Tendulkar’s performance as a lawmaker hasn’t really matched his reputation as a sportsman. He has so far asked just 22 questions; five of them were related to sports. As per Rajya Sabha records, the master blaster hasn’t introduced a private member’s bill—an avenue used by individual lawmakers to propose policy changes. Over the last five years, Tendulkar’s attendance record is 8%, according to PRS Legislative Research.

First Published: Dec 21, 2017 07:12 IST