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RTI Reveals Sports Ministry’s Helplessness against Corruption

Joydeep Hazarika for BeyondHeadlines

If a recent RTI report is to be believed, then a seemingly helpless Indian government is seeking the assistance of the IOC (International Olympic Council) in drafting a bill to prevent spot/match fixing in a bid to check the entry of tainted persons into the IOA (Indian Olympic Association).

This news came out after the matter was revealed by an RTI application filed by Delhi based RTI activist Subhash Chandra Aggarwal.

The report reveals that India’s sports minister Jitendra Singh, in his letter to the IOC President, expressed concern on tainted persons having been elected in IOA. The report becomes quite significant given that Vice President of the ruling Congress party, Rahul Gandhi, had recently desired that sports federations should not be dominated by politicians.

It is indeed shocking and surprising that India’s sports ministry has become so powerless when no one in the union government cares for comments and suggestions made by it, may it be its advice against Bharat Ratna to Sachin Tendulkar or a legislation for an effective Sports Bill. Even the Union Cabinet is virtually dictated by some heavyweight ministers having direct links with the world’s richest cricket body, the Board for Control of Cricket in India (BCCI). The conflict of interests here is directly evident on the union cabinet discussing the Sports Bill which is also aimed to make the BCCI accountable in presence of such ministers having direct connections with the BCCI members.

Here, Aggarwal feels that the sports minister need not expose his helplessness to an international body against which even his officers made some cautionary noting. Instead, the RTI activist feels that Singh should take his party’s Vice President into confidence for issuing an ordinance to cover aspects of the pending Sports Bill so that all national sports bodies become accountable under the RTI Act.

In this case, the preferred rule should be that ministers (and even all those in the legislature) should not be allowed to hold any post in private bodies or even in their parties, because they have much more to do in their capacities as ministers (and being in legislature).

With the IOC recently lifting its ban over India, it is a chance for the country to redeem itself and remove the stain of corruption that has marred its sporting aspects.

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