Though the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh has assured the top functionaries of different sports organisations led by Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president Suresh Kalmadi when they met him that there would be no change in tenure till Commonwealth Games, which is to be held in Delhi this year, he must not reject outright the Union Sports Minister M S Gill's guidelines to fix the term of office for 12 and years respectively.
The Minister issued the new guidelines, that seek to limit tenures of sports administrators to clear the mess in sports bodies after the embarrassment to him and the nation alike over the IPL mess. Apart from Kalmadi, the regulation seeks to end the more than a decade-old reign of VK Malhotra (archery), Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa (cycling), VK Verma (badminton), Captain Satish K Sharma (aero club), B S Adityan (volleyball) and Jagdish Tytler (judo). Except one or two, they are top ranking politicians of different political parties who have been heading sports bodies for years.
The politicians of the country has degenerated to such a level that if any act of improving the functioning in any field that clips their wings, they become intolerant. Gill's fixing of terms was described as erosion of the autonomy of the sports bodies by them.
The sports minister Gill is known for honesty and integrity so is the PM. That is why the PM must explain to the heads of sports bodies that they can not be allowed to manage their sports bodies in the way they like in the name of autonomy. After all, the government has to be accountable to the people if ever any financial bungling or anything else comes to light. So, it can not sit as mute spectactators if it has to keep the sports bodies free of corruption and malpractices.
The new regulation suggests NSF presidents, which includes long-standing Indian Olympic Association chief Suresh Kalmadi, cannot occupy the post for more than 12 years, with or without break, while secretaries and treasurers can serve eight years at a stretch and can seek a re-election only after a four-year gap.
Sports Minister M S Gill is a retired top ranking bureaucrat-turned politician and he has studies the International Olympic Council (IOC) regulation and they require their president to have a 12-year term in total, no more, and to retire at 70. Therefore, our NSF presidents can continue for 12 years even continuous. What more could he does for them?
Prime Minister Singh must take into account that his minister's motive behind circulating guidlines regarding the fixing of tenure for the officials of sports bodies is to clean the deep dirt stuck to them and nothing else. He also must take note of the fact that politicians always want to be supreme in all fields of activities under the sun.
As far as the autonomy of the sports bodies is concerned, it is totally unfair to take benefits from the government without being accountable to it. Political class of the country has left no sports bodies untouched. The question here arises why they are getting so much attracted towards them.
PM must support Gill in his initiative to clean the mess in sports bodies. And politicians also must realise that they have no business to interfere with all fields of activities whether they sports, music, entertainment, culture, banking and finance. Everything under the sun can not be in their domain. The Union Sports Minister is doing the fine job and he must be supported by the government.