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Overview:

With a population of more than a billion, India earned just six medals (and no golds) at the 2012 London Olympics. India also has the world’s richest cricket board, but some of the most poorly managed and least-funded sports federations. It’s fair to say the Indian government’s efforts to promote sports through its institutes, develop talent through various training programs and compete globally in organized sports could stand some improvement.

 

The Department of Sports is supposed to ensure accountability of these efforts. But in recent years, when it’s attempted to check the behavior of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and other sports federations, it’s been marginalized. How? Although sports is supposed to be relatively immune to politics and even less immune to graft, of late, officials in India have seemed more concerned with lining their pockets than ensuring welfare of the athletes they represent. As a result, a substantial gap remains between the ambitions and the actual achievements of the Department of Sports.

more
History:

The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports is a legacy of 1982’s Asian Games, which were held in Delhi, and the International Youth Year, 1985. The Department of Sports, set up in 1982 in the run-up to the games, was re-named the Department of Youth Affairs and Sports in 1985. It was upgraded to a ministry in 2000. By 2008, there were two separate departments — Youth Affairs and Sports. The Asian Games and the recently held Commonwealth Games, the two biggest sports events India has hosted, illustrate the change in the government’s role in sports. In 1982, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi appointed a close aide, Buta Singh, to head the organizing committee. The government controlled all aspects of the preparations.

 

By 2010, the Department of Sports and the Commonwealth Games organizing committee, headed by then-president of the Indian Olympic Association, Suresh Kalmadi, were rarely on the same page. While Kalmadi clung to his post, two sports ministers critical of him, Mani Shankar Aiyar and MS Gill, were relieved of their offices. Kalmadi and his team of sports federation chiefs expected the government to provide the funds, ready the infrastructure in time for the games and offer no interference in how they spent the funds. 

 

By the completion of the Commonwealth Games, however, indictments against Kalmadi and Co. had seemed imminent. The games, which were supposed to be a coming out party for India, instead became a glaring example of the country’s massive corruption problem.  

more
What it Does:

With powerful politicians, some of them ministers in the government, backing the BCCI and other sports federations, the department appears to have resigned to disbursing funds and developing sports talent. Through the Sports Authority of India, sports institutes and programs such as the Panchayat Yuv Krida aur Khel Abhiyan, the ministry is making an effort to ensure that all youngsters have access to facilities and guidance they need to compete at the highest levels. The department has also taken anti-doping measures and delegated the enforcement of international anti-doping regulations to its National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) and National Dope Testing Laboratory. It also supports retired sportsmen and sportswomen, and has an awards program to recognize and encourage sporting achievement. 

 

Attached Bodies or Autonomous Bodies

Sports Authority of India (SAI)

The Sports Authority of India (SAI) is an autonomous body set up by the government in 1984. The minister of youth affairs and sports chairs its governing body. SAI has launched programs to scout and develop talent. Under National Sports Talent Contest Scheme, SAI adopts schools to train medal winners at national, state or district level competitions. SAI also provides the schools with coaching staff and funds for infrastructure and equipment. SAI Training Centres are set up in collaboration with state governments and train accomplished sports persons in the age group 14-21. Special Area Games Centres focus on hilly, tribal and coastal areas to tap into the physical strengths associated with these terrains and lifestyles. The Centres of Excellence, on the other hand, hold camps for top athletes in each discipline. SAI also maintains a number of stadiums and other sporting venues nationwide.

 

Institutes for sports education

Netaji Subhas National Institute of Sports, Patiala; Lakshmibai National College of Physical Education, Thiruvananthapuram; and Lakshmibai National University of Physical Education, Gwalior train coaches and teach courses on physical education, including psychology, sports biomechanics, sports management and mass communication.

 

National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA)

NADA implements the guidelines issued by World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and consists of an Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel, Anti-Doping Appeal Panel and Therapeutic Use Exemption Committee. The Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel is headed by a retired district and session’s judge while a retired High Court judge helms the Anti-Doping Appeals Panel. Both panels have experts in law, medicine and sports as its members. The Therapeutic Use Exemption Committee consists of medical practitioners from the fields of general medicine, pharmacology and chest disease. NADA also educates athletes on steering clear of banned substances through seminars and workshops and literature.

 

National Dope Testing Laboratory (NDTL)

NDTL is one of the 33 WADA-accredited labs in the world and six in Asia. It tests blood and urine samples of athletes, collaborates with other labs abroad and conducts research on new technology and best practices. NDTL also extends its services to other countries that don’t have their own WADA-accredited labs.

more
Where Does the Money Go:

According to the 2012-13 budget estimates, SAI required $61.2 million; the Panchayat Yuv Krida aur Khel Abhiyan (PYKKA) would need $43.2 million; and the assistance to National Sports Federations would amount to $20.2 million. PYKKA is a program launched in 2008 by then minister Mani Shankar Aiyar to encourage in sports in rural areas. Under PYKKA, the ministry along with the state governments bears the expenses of building playgrounds, buying equipment and holding competitions in each village and block panchayats. Aiyar was critical of the finance ministry at the time as it appeared reluctant to fund the program but had no qualms about releasing millions for the Commonwealth Games. Later as the games approached, Aiyar, no longer the minister, publicly remarked that he would be very unhappy if the games were successful.

more
Controversies:

Medal-Winning Relay Team Caught Doping

One of the 2010 Commonwealth Games few Indian highlights was the women’s quartet of Manjeet Kaur, Mandeep Kaur, Sini Jose and Ashwini Akkunji winning gold in the 4x400 relay race, beating Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, England and Australia. A month later, they won gold in the Asiad in Guangzhou, China. But just a year later, news broke that three of the four members (Mandeep Kaur, Sini Jose and Ashwini Akkunji) had tested positive for a banned substance. The athletes protested their innocence, saying the substance could have come from a food supplement. But their suspension stayed and India did not send a 4x400 women’s team to the 2012 London Olympics. The government also sacked the national track and field coach, Ukrainian Yuri Ogorodnik.

 

Indian Women 4X400 Relay Team Wins Gold (Indian Express)

India Bans Seven Athletes For Failing Doping Tests (BBC)

 

PT Usha Gets Dissed

PT Usha is an Indian athletics legend. In her prime in the 1980s, she was the top Asian athlete in the 200-meter and 400-meter events. She now coaches young athletes in her home state, Kerala. In 2009, she accompanied those protégés to the National Athletics Championship in Bhopal only to find that she would have to stay at a poorly maintained SAI hostel. Feeling insulted, she wondered aloud that if the Indian sports establishment treats one of their legend so badly, what could be the plight of hundreds of other, lesser-known athletics participating in the event. The incident drew widespread condemnation.

 

PT Usha Breaks Down Over Shabby Treatment (The Hindu)

PT Usha Breaks Down After Denial of Decent Accommodation (by Suchandana Gupta, Times of India)

more
Suggested Reforms:

Term Limits For Sport’s Czars

One of the issues that the Department of Sports was trying to address in the National Sports Development Bill was the seemingly interminable tenures of the sports federation chiefs. Vijay Kumar Malhotra, for example, has been the president of the Archery Federation for 40 years. Suresh Kalmadi headed the Indian Olympic Association for 16 years before corruption charges forced him from office. Over the years, these long-serving chiefs managed to eliminate any opposition within their associations and build close ties with international bodies and firms. The government could then do little to check corruption in an event such as the Commonwealth Games as the organizers (Kalmadi and his team) and the firms lined their pockets with no-bid contracts. So the bill set an age limit for all office bearers (70 years) and a term of not more than 12 consecutive years for the heads of national sports federations.

 

Maken Proposes To Bring National Sports Development Bill (Deccan Herald)

IOA, NSFs reject National Sports Development Bill (Times of India)                                 

Vijay Kumar Malhotra Re-elected Archery Association Head (Times of India)

more
Debate:

Should The RTI Act Apply to BCCI Transactions?

Ajay Maken’s tenure as the Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports will be remembered for his confrontation with the BCCI. His National Sports Development Bill envisaged making the functioning of National Sports Federations, including the BCCI, more transparent, and fixing tenures and age limits for the office bearers. But he soon discovered he was fighting alone. The Union Cabinet, led by Sharad Pawar, the agriculture minister and former BCCI chief, rejected his first draft and has been dragging its feet on the revised versions. Now with Maken gone, a committee has been set up to redraft it yet again.

 

The RTI Act Should Apply to BCCI Transactions

Maken wanted any BCCI transaction accessible under the Right to Information Act. He believed that while BCCI does not get funding from the government like the other sports federations, it still enjoys waivers on customs and the government provides security at its cricket matches. Making its dealings transparent in this fashion would only lend credibility to the organization.

 

Wail of Zamindars (by A.G. Noorani, Frontline)

 

RTI Act Should Not Apply to BCCI Transactions

The BCCI objected to the bill on the grounds that it infringed on its members’ rights and curtailed their autonomy. The BCCI also reminded Maken that sports fell under the jurisdiction of the individual states and not the federal government. The BCCI further contended that it could not be categorized as a National Sports Federation since it does not take government assistance.

 

BCCI Rejects Ajay Maken's Revised Sports Development Bill (Mail Today)

What is BCCI Scared of, Asks Ajay Maken ( NDTV)

more
Former Directors:

MS Gill (April 6, 2008-January 19, 2011)

Born in 1936, MS Gill holds a PhD from the University of Cambridge in development studies. He is an accomplished mountaineer and led the Indian Olympics contingent to the Mexico City Olympics in 1968.

 

Gill is a former IAS officer who began as a district collector in Himachal Pradesh and retired as the Chief Election Commissioner in 2001.

 

Then he entered politics, joining the Indian National Congress and becoming a member of the Rajya Sabha in 2004. Towards the end of the United Progressive Alliance’s first term at the center, he was appointed the Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports, a position he held onto as the UPA won a second term in 2009.

 

Gill ran the ministry while Delhi hosted the Commonwealth Games in 2010 and was constantly in the news for construction delays in various venues in the lead-up to the games. Gill was also criticized alongside games organizing committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi and the Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit, Gill for his handling of the event, a trail of corrupt deals and a budget that overshot all estimates.

 

A January 2011 cabinet reshuffle pushed Gill from the ministry. This is widely considered to be the fall-out of the games debacle. He was then given charge of Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, a punishment posting.

 

Gill did try to implement some changes. Before he left Youth Affairs and Sports, he drafted the National Sports Development Code, which set age limits for the heads of sports federations, including the Indian Olympic Association. The International Olympic Council Committee termed this undue government interference and later suspended the IOA in December 2012. In an interview after the suspension, Gill accused the IOC of double standards as, he said, he had used the IOC’s own regulations for the code. He also suspected “an Indian hand” behind the suspension.

 

Official Bio

more

Comments

India 5 years ago
Seafoid, do you remember the Koestler Thread? The Arab or Jew? rape case came up, as it must. Remember how the crimes of the father, rape of a child, pimping his own daughter, sending her to boarding school, were just passed lightly over, and were used to indict the “Arab ra2t#i&s8p21; as aggravating circumstances (how could he rape someone who suffered so much already, or something like that!

Leave a comment

Founded: 2008
Annual Budget: $147 million
Employees: 120
Department of Sports
  • Latest News
Bookmark and Share
Overview:

With a population of more than a billion, India earned just six medals (and no golds) at the 2012 London Olympics. India also has the world’s richest cricket board, but some of the most poorly managed and least-funded sports federations. It’s fair to say the Indian government’s efforts to promote sports through its institutes, develop talent through various training programs and compete globally in organized sports could stand some improvement.

 

The Department of Sports is supposed to ensure accountability of these efforts. But in recent years, when it’s attempted to check the behavior of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and other sports federations, it’s been marginalized. How? Although sports is supposed to be relatively immune to politics and even less immune to graft, of late, officials in India have seemed more concerned with lining their pockets than ensuring welfare of the athletes they represent. As a result, a substantial gap remains between the ambitions and the actual achievements of the Department of Sports.

more
History:

The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports is a legacy of 1982’s Asian Games, which were held in Delhi, and the International Youth Year, 1985. The Department of Sports, set up in 1982 in the run-up to the games, was re-named the Department of Youth Affairs and Sports in 1985. It was upgraded to a ministry in 2000. By 2008, there were two separate departments — Youth Affairs and Sports. The Asian Games and the recently held Commonwealth Games, the two biggest sports events India has hosted, illustrate the change in the government’s role in sports. In 1982, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi appointed a close aide, Buta Singh, to head the organizing committee. The government controlled all aspects of the preparations.

 

By 2010, the Department of Sports and the Commonwealth Games organizing committee, headed by then-president of the Indian Olympic Association, Suresh Kalmadi, were rarely on the same page. While Kalmadi clung to his post, two sports ministers critical of him, Mani Shankar Aiyar and MS Gill, were relieved of their offices. Kalmadi and his team of sports federation chiefs expected the government to provide the funds, ready the infrastructure in time for the games and offer no interference in how they spent the funds. 

 

By the completion of the Commonwealth Games, however, indictments against Kalmadi and Co. had seemed imminent. The games, which were supposed to be a coming out party for India, instead became a glaring example of the country’s massive corruption problem.  

more
What it Does:

With powerful politicians, some of them ministers in the government, backing the BCCI and other sports federations, the department appears to have resigned to disbursing funds and developing sports talent. Through the Sports Authority of India, sports institutes and programs such as the Panchayat Yuv Krida aur Khel Abhiyan, the ministry is making an effort to ensure that all youngsters have access to facilities and guidance they need to compete at the highest levels. The department has also taken anti-doping measures and delegated the enforcement of international anti-doping regulations to its National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) and National Dope Testing Laboratory. It also supports retired sportsmen and sportswomen, and has an awards program to recognize and encourage sporting achievement. 

 

Attached Bodies or Autonomous Bodies

Sports Authority of India (SAI)

The Sports Authority of India (SAI) is an autonomous body set up by the government in 1984. The minister of youth affairs and sports chairs its governing body. SAI has launched programs to scout and develop talent. Under National Sports Talent Contest Scheme, SAI adopts schools to train medal winners at national, state or district level competitions. SAI also provides the schools with coaching staff and funds for infrastructure and equipment. SAI Training Centres are set up in collaboration with state governments and train accomplished sports persons in the age group 14-21. Special Area Games Centres focus on hilly, tribal and coastal areas to tap into the physical strengths associated with these terrains and lifestyles. The Centres of Excellence, on the other hand, hold camps for top athletes in each discipline. SAI also maintains a number of stadiums and other sporting venues nationwide.

 

Institutes for sports education

Netaji Subhas National Institute of Sports, Patiala; Lakshmibai National College of Physical Education, Thiruvananthapuram; and Lakshmibai National University of Physical Education, Gwalior train coaches and teach courses on physical education, including psychology, sports biomechanics, sports management and mass communication.

 

National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA)

NADA implements the guidelines issued by World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and consists of an Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel, Anti-Doping Appeal Panel and Therapeutic Use Exemption Committee. The Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel is headed by a retired district and session’s judge while a retired High Court judge helms the Anti-Doping Appeals Panel. Both panels have experts in law, medicine and sports as its members. The Therapeutic Use Exemption Committee consists of medical practitioners from the fields of general medicine, pharmacology and chest disease. NADA also educates athletes on steering clear of banned substances through seminars and workshops and literature.

 

National Dope Testing Laboratory (NDTL)

NDTL is one of the 33 WADA-accredited labs in the world and six in Asia. It tests blood and urine samples of athletes, collaborates with other labs abroad and conducts research on new technology and best practices. NDTL also extends its services to other countries that don’t have their own WADA-accredited labs.

more
Where Does the Money Go:

According to the 2012-13 budget estimates, SAI required $61.2 million; the Panchayat Yuv Krida aur Khel Abhiyan (PYKKA) would need $43.2 million; and the assistance to National Sports Federations would amount to $20.2 million. PYKKA is a program launched in 2008 by then minister Mani Shankar Aiyar to encourage in sports in rural areas. Under PYKKA, the ministry along with the state governments bears the expenses of building playgrounds, buying equipment and holding competitions in each village and block panchayats. Aiyar was critical of the finance ministry at the time as it appeared reluctant to fund the program but had no qualms about releasing millions for the Commonwealth Games. Later as the games approached, Aiyar, no longer the minister, publicly remarked that he would be very unhappy if the games were successful.

more
Controversies:

Medal-Winning Relay Team Caught Doping

One of the 2010 Commonwealth Games few Indian highlights was the women’s quartet of Manjeet Kaur, Mandeep Kaur, Sini Jose and Ashwini Akkunji winning gold in the 4x400 relay race, beating Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, England and Australia. A month later, they won gold in the Asiad in Guangzhou, China. But just a year later, news broke that three of the four members (Mandeep Kaur, Sini Jose and Ashwini Akkunji) had tested positive for a banned substance. The athletes protested their innocence, saying the substance could have come from a food supplement. But their suspension stayed and India did not send a 4x400 women’s team to the 2012 London Olympics. The government also sacked the national track and field coach, Ukrainian Yuri Ogorodnik.

 

Indian Women 4X400 Relay Team Wins Gold (Indian Express)

India Bans Seven Athletes For Failing Doping Tests (BBC)

 

PT Usha Gets Dissed

PT Usha is an Indian athletics legend. In her prime in the 1980s, she was the top Asian athlete in the 200-meter and 400-meter events. She now coaches young athletes in her home state, Kerala. In 2009, she accompanied those protégés to the National Athletics Championship in Bhopal only to find that she would have to stay at a poorly maintained SAI hostel. Feeling insulted, she wondered aloud that if the Indian sports establishment treats one of their legend so badly, what could be the plight of hundreds of other, lesser-known athletics participating in the event. The incident drew widespread condemnation.

 

PT Usha Breaks Down Over Shabby Treatment (The Hindu)

PT Usha Breaks Down After Denial of Decent Accommodation (by Suchandana Gupta, Times of India)

more
Suggested Reforms:

Term Limits For Sport’s Czars

One of the issues that the Department of Sports was trying to address in the National Sports Development Bill was the seemingly interminable tenures of the sports federation chiefs. Vijay Kumar Malhotra, for example, has been the president of the Archery Federation for 40 years. Suresh Kalmadi headed the Indian Olympic Association for 16 years before corruption charges forced him from office. Over the years, these long-serving chiefs managed to eliminate any opposition within their associations and build close ties with international bodies and firms. The government could then do little to check corruption in an event such as the Commonwealth Games as the organizers (Kalmadi and his team) and the firms lined their pockets with no-bid contracts. So the bill set an age limit for all office bearers (70 years) and a term of not more than 12 consecutive years for the heads of national sports federations.

 

Maken Proposes To Bring National Sports Development Bill (Deccan Herald)

IOA, NSFs reject National Sports Development Bill (Times of India)                                 

Vijay Kumar Malhotra Re-elected Archery Association Head (Times of India)

more
Debate:

Should The RTI Act Apply to BCCI Transactions?

Ajay Maken’s tenure as the Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports will be remembered for his confrontation with the BCCI. His National Sports Development Bill envisaged making the functioning of National Sports Federations, including the BCCI, more transparent, and fixing tenures and age limits for the office bearers. But he soon discovered he was fighting alone. The Union Cabinet, led by Sharad Pawar, the agriculture minister and former BCCI chief, rejected his first draft and has been dragging its feet on the revised versions. Now with Maken gone, a committee has been set up to redraft it yet again.

 

The RTI Act Should Apply to BCCI Transactions

Maken wanted any BCCI transaction accessible under the Right to Information Act. He believed that while BCCI does not get funding from the government like the other sports federations, it still enjoys waivers on customs and the government provides security at its cricket matches. Making its dealings transparent in this fashion would only lend credibility to the organization.

 

Wail of Zamindars (by A.G. Noorani, Frontline)

 

RTI Act Should Not Apply to BCCI Transactions

The BCCI objected to the bill on the grounds that it infringed on its members’ rights and curtailed their autonomy. The BCCI also reminded Maken that sports fell under the jurisdiction of the individual states and not the federal government. The BCCI further contended that it could not be categorized as a National Sports Federation since it does not take government assistance.

 

BCCI Rejects Ajay Maken's Revised Sports Development Bill (Mail Today)

What is BCCI Scared of, Asks Ajay Maken ( NDTV)

more
Former Directors:

MS Gill (April 6, 2008-January 19, 2011)

Born in 1936, MS Gill holds a PhD from the University of Cambridge in development studies. He is an accomplished mountaineer and led the Indian Olympics contingent to the Mexico City Olympics in 1968.

 

Gill is a former IAS officer who began as a district collector in Himachal Pradesh and retired as the Chief Election Commissioner in 2001.

 

Then he entered politics, joining the Indian National Congress and becoming a member of the Rajya Sabha in 2004. Towards the end of the United Progressive Alliance’s first term at the center, he was appointed the Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports, a position he held onto as the UPA won a second term in 2009.

 

Gill ran the ministry while Delhi hosted the Commonwealth Games in 2010 and was constantly in the news for construction delays in various venues in the lead-up to the games. Gill was also criticized alongside games organizing committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi and the Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit, Gill for his handling of the event, a trail of corrupt deals and a budget that overshot all estimates.

 

A January 2011 cabinet reshuffle pushed Gill from the ministry. This is widely considered to be the fall-out of the games debacle. He was then given charge of Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, a punishment posting.

 

Gill did try to implement some changes. Before he left Youth Affairs and Sports, he drafted the National Sports Development Code, which set age limits for the heads of sports federations, including the Indian Olympic Association. The International Olympic Council Committee termed this undue government interference and later suspended the IOA in December 2012. In an interview after the suspension, Gill accused the IOC of double standards as, he said, he had used the IOC’s own regulations for the code. He also suspected “an Indian hand” behind the suspension.

 

Official Bio

more

Comments

India 5 years ago
Seafoid, do you remember the Koestler Thread? The Arab or Jew? rape case came up, as it must. Remember how the crimes of the father, rape of a child, pimping his own daughter, sending her to boarding school, were just passed lightly over, and were used to indict the “Arab ra2t#i&s8p21; as aggravating circumstances (how could he rape someone who suffered so much already, or something like that!

Leave a comment

Founded: 2008
Annual Budget: $147 million
Employees: 120
Department of Sports
  • Latest News