Bill will pave way for a vibrant era in Indian sports
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Bill will pave way for a vibrant era in Indian sports

Track queen wants govt to show the initiative which saw the Nuclear Energy Bill through, writes PT Usha.Will the sports bill help stem the rot from the system? | Usha says

india Updated: Nov 19, 2011 02:31 IST
PT Usha
PT Usha

It has been 32 years since I began my association with Indian sports, and it continues to this day as I am still working hard to give something back to athletics in my role as a coach.

The victories I achieved, within the country and abroad, have brought me tremendous recognition from sports lovers. So, I feel it is my responsibility to make sure that every effort is made to revamp the running of Indian sports, which will help our sportspersons to deliver performances that will match the best in the world. We are as much a sports-loving nation as any other in the world and our athletes deserve the very best in terms of infrastructure and professional administrative support.

I have been a staunch supporter of the provisions in the National Sports Development Bill. The revised version proposed by the sports minister, I believe, is a landmark initiative that has the potential to streamline administration in our National Sports Federations (NSFs) as well as the Indian Olympic Association.

As I understand, this bill, once enacted, will grant much more autonomy to the NSFs than there is now. By removing the current provision of annual recognition of the NSFs by the ministry, it will ensure that government and bureaucratic interference is done away with. The bill has raised a huge debate in the country. It primarily provides for limiting the age and restricting the tenure of its office-bearers and bringing them within the ambit of the Right to Information Act.

Will the sports bill help stem the rot from the system?

It further ensures a 25 per cent players’ representation in their executive bodies with voting rights, enforces international good practices and democratic principles like conducting free and fair elections by way of secret ballot.

It also provides for setting up of an “Athlete Advisory Council” as well as a “Sports Dispute Settlement & Appellate Tribunal”, adhering to international standards in order to curb/abolish doping, age fraud, sexual harassment, amongst others. At present, all these problems plague our system. Thus, it is a well-meaning legislation aimed at making sports administration responsible, accountable and transparent. The bill also addresses the issue of political interference in the administration of federations, something that has marred Indian sports till now.

India’s dismal performance at the international level is intriguing and pathetic. We are a proud few who have won laurels for our country. Words can’t describe our emotions when we heard the national anthem being played and saw the Tricolour being hoisted at international venues. Sportspersons like me consider it our national duty to back the government on this bill, which will stem the rot once it becomes an Act.

I’m delighted that a number of sports lovers and many former greats, as true patriotic representatives of Indian sports, have come together for the first time to back this bold and historic step being taken by the sports ministry.

I would urge the honourable Prime Minister and members of his Cabinet to kindly steer the bill and ensure it gets approved and is passed by Parliament. I want them to show the same level of initiative that helped pass the Nuclear Energy Bill. I am confident this bill, when passed, will pave the way for a vibrant era in Indian sports.

First Published: Nov 19, 2011 01:42 IST