Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal says he is not against the autonomy of the National Sports Federations but wants them to be accountable.
The MP from Assam said his ministry is considering to have a system in place to make NSFs accountable without compromising their autonomy.
“Let them enjoy their autonomy but at the same time they have to perform as per the expectations of the people of the country. Accountability must be there,” Sonowal told PTI-Bhasha in an interview.
“Maintaining discipline and standards is must and let them have more democratic approach within the federation. There should be democratic set up and functioning. We have to have a check on it. We will be happy if they behave like this,” he said.
Sonowal said he also wants to have cordial relations with all NSFs including BCCI. In previous government there was a fierce battle between ministry and BCCI on the issue of bringing the latter under the ambit of RTI.
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“My ministry will have cordial relation with all the NSFs and units and with their support we want to grow. I believe in co-ordination not confrontation,” said the minister.
“I could say one line. Sports should be above controversy, malpractices and corruption. That is the desire and expectation of the countrymen,” he added.
Asked if the Sports Bill was still in pipeline, he said that it has to be discussed.
“Sports bill was there but we will have to see it. We require a lot of discussion on that. We need democratic process, new ideas, assessment, and analysis. I will not go into details but it requires discussion with all the stakeholders,” said Sonowal.
Talking about the resumption of India-Pakistan bilateral cricket series, Sonowal said that the “issue requires a lot of discussion”.
“I feel that sports should be above politics and controversies. We can build relations with countries through sports and that option is always open. Prime Minister had invited all SAARC leaders including Pakistan in his oath taking ceremony which is a good sign to develop relations with our neighbours,” he said.
BCCI has signed memorandum of understanding with PCB in which they have agreed to play six series from 2015 to 2023.
Pakistan toured India in late 2012 for a short limited-over’s series, but they have not played a full bilateral series since the Mumbai terrorist attacks in 2008. India last toured Pakistan in 2006.
“Sports should develop positive energy and we should emphasis on that. At the moment I can only say that let us discuss first. The doors of discussion are always open.”
On the possibility of hosting 2019 Asian games, he said that a decision will be taken in one or two days.
Sonowal has also requested finance minister Arun Jaitley to increase allocation for sports in coming general budget.
“Rio Olympic will be the target to bring more medals and ministry will put 100 percent efforts. I have already requested finance minister to have increased budgetary allocation for sports. We have a huge area where we have to perform as per the expectations of the country. Immediate focus is CWG and Asiad but we will have a lot of schemes for Olympic preparation,” he said.
He feels India has medal prospects in Boxing, Shooting, Badminton, Archery and ministry is keen to scout talent.
“From the block level, district and state level talent will be searched and groomed to be a medal prospect through scientific training. Not only players but coaches and trainers will also be groomed,” he said.
“We have to develop sports culture by making it a way of life. We have to fight for sports excellence and this will be our priority. We have more than 6,20,000 villages in the country. We have to add sports in the educational curriculum for nation building process and to restore our tradition and heritage,” he said.