PM imposes restrictions on officials' Rio trip

PM imposes restrictions on officials' Rio trip

Extended foreign trips may be a thing of the past

PM imposes restrictions on officials' Rio trip

Bureaucrats may not be able to enjoy extended foreign trips anymore, with the government imposing new restrictions.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has instructed the Sports Ministry to restrict the number of bureaucrats who will accompany the Indian contingent for the 2016 Rio Olympics. Modi said the accompanying group of officials should be half of the strength of the contingent. The contingent list is prepared by the Indian Olympic Association and cleared by the Sports Ministry.

Following Modi’s fiat, the ministry has conveyed to state governments its inability to take along their individual official nominees. The states will now have to seek permission from the External Affairs Ministry.

States like Haryana had written to the Sports Ministry, expressing their desire to send some of their officials to attend the games between August 5 and 21 in Brazil.
The Olympic contingent is led by the sports minister, and consists of athletes who have qualified, support staff, including coaches, personal trainers, doctors and managers, and officials.

The Prime Minister’s Office also sought a weekly report from the Sports Ministry on the preparations for the games. So far, 86 athletes have qualified and the number could up as the boxing, tennis and other events are still on.

Modi is expected to address the delegation at a farewell function at Manekshaw auditorium here on July 4. 

 A director-level officer has been assigned by the Sports Ministry to ensure athletes who have qualified or are likely to qualify don’t face any hurdles. Ministry sources said a WhatsApp group has been created among the stakeholders for speedy disposal of requests and better communication.

Govt incentive  
This year, the government has decided to give the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna and Arjuna Awards to Olympic winners and coaches, respectively.

Earlier, they were bestowed the award only the following year, a Sports Ministry official said.

Athletes and national sports federations are funded by the Target Olympic Podium scheme. The government, claim ministry officials, is offering generous financial assistance in the hope that India’s medal tally goes up this year.

India had won six medals – two silver and four bronze - in the 2012 London Olympics. A 142-member Indian contingent, including 81 athletes, had participated.

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