Sports Bill receives support from Parliamentary Committee

According to sources in the ministry, all the members of the committee, including Kirti Azad of BJP, Shatabdi Roy of Trinamool Congress, Nripendra Nath Roy of All India Forward Bloc and Meenakshi Natarajan of the Congress, have come out in the full support of bill.
The Committee members were unanimous in their view that a sports legislation at the national level was essential to promote professional management of sports in the country, protect sportspersons' rights, strengthen the talent identification and development system and ensure fair and transparent selection of national teams.

Under the chairmanship of Sports Minister Ajay Maken, the Committee deliberated on the proposed National Sports Development Bill to promote sporting excellence in India.
The draft has also been sent to the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and all National Sports Federations (NSFs) seeking their response within a month.

This was followed by a detailed presentation on the salient features of the draft, which got great support.

"We have got unanimous support across all political parties in favour of the bill but it seems only the sporting federations are having problems," said a source.
The features in the bill include the establishment of a National Sports Development Council to be headed by an eminent sportsperson, the role delineation between the Government, NSFs, Sports Authority of India and National Olympic Committee (NOC).
Besides, empowerment of NOC and NSFs to regulate organised sports in the country and represent India overseas subject to adopting basic universal principles of good governance.
It also suggested to make it mandatory for NOC to submit a detailed report of its activities in both Houses of Parliament every four years.

The IOA would need to submit its first report to the Parliament before December 31, 2011 and it must include the audited annual financial statement and a comprehensive report on queries raised under the Right to Information Act.

It is provides for prevention of doping in sports, provisions to prevent age manipulation and to promote a safe and healthy environment for women in sports.

It also speaks of appointment of a national sports ombudsman and an appellate authority for speedy resolution of sports-related disputes and reservation of 25 per cent membership and voting rights in IOA and NSFs for sportspersons. Apart from these, the bill sought to give legal backing to the age and tenure limitation guidelines in respect of office bearers of NOC and NSFs, Union Sports Minister not eligible to contest for elections to any post in the NOC and NSFs until expiry of five years after relinquishing office and government servants not to hold elective office without prior approval of the Government and maximum tenure of four years.

Maken had made a statement in the Lok Sabha on February 22 and informed that the draft bill had already been posted on the Sports Ministry's website, giving 30 days time for comments and suggestions.

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