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Transparency is the key word

There are 227 days left for the start of the XIX Commonwealth Games, the biggest sporting event in India. And the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) is satisfied with the progress.

india Updated: Feb 18, 2010 01:02 IST

There are 227 days left for the start of the XIX Commonwealth Games, the biggest sporting event in India. And the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) is satisfied with the progress. There is excitement in the air as the events to test the fields of play for the Games begin this week. They will give the venue owners the chance to correct any shortcomings before the Games.

Sadly, as we gear up for the task on hand, we have heard some talk of lack of transparency and accountability in the Organising Committee Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi. Let me assure you that we want to - and have - set high standards of probity in public life. We know we have the team to conduct the Games in a manner that will not only be successful but also make Indians hold their heads high with pride.

The staff of around 1000 is headed by CEO Mr. Jarnail Singh, who has years of experience in Government. Transparency and accountability are the pillars of the OC, which wants to set benchmarks for financial discipline. We are covered by the RTI Act and welcome it. The Organising Committee Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi's Financial and Administrative Rules are a prudent mix of the Government Financial Rules and the rules of the CGF.

The Executive Board is the highest decision-making body of the OC and comprises two officials from the Indian Olympic Association, four from National Sports Federations, three from the Commonwealth Games Federation, two each from the Central and State Governments. We have also added the Additional Secretary, Ministry of Finance, to the Board. All financial decisions have been made - unanimously, I must add - by this Board.

The tender documents released by OC are in conformity with best practices. For, all draft tender documents are placed before and major financial decisions are made by a high-powered Finance Committee, which is sub-committee of the Executive Board. The Finance Committee includes a number of top officials from the Government. All expenses over Rs 50 lakh have to be approved by this Finance Committee before the proposal is placed before the Executive Board. And, there is an Audit Committee that looks at the expenses. It will also be pertinent to point out that we have not only internal audits but also completed three audits by the Comptroller & Auditor General of India.

None of these has brought out any major deficiencies in the rules or procedures followed by the OC. Isn’t that testimony to our transparency and efficacy of rules and procedures?

At the OC, we are well aware that ours is a revenue neutral budget; that we have to repay the Government of India the Rs 1620 crore loaned to us for the conduct of the Games. We are leaving no stone unturned to raise the monies from the sale of TV rights, sponsorships, ticket sales and merchandise.

We have already exceeded our revenue targets from sale of TV rights to major networks like Network Ten and Foxtel in Australia, South African Broadcasting Corporation, TV New Zealand, Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation, Seychelles Broadcasting Corporation, ABU in Malaysia, Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria and Namibia Broadcasting Corporation. We are in an advanced state of negotiation with BBC.

We have already got on board Air India, NTPC, Central Bank of India, Hero Honda and Coca Cola as our partners and are talking with a number of other corporates who see immense value in associating themselves with the Delhi 2010 brand.

And in conclusion, I have no doubt that our security personnel are geared up to provide the best protection for the Games Family. The Home Ministry and Delhi Police are committed to ensuring a safe and secure environment for the Games. The security personnel from all Commonwealth nations who attend the International Security Liaison Conference are convinced about that. And yes, I have no doubt we will host the best Games ever.