A bill seeking to establish a National Sports University in Manipur to provide sports education, research and coaching was passed by voice vote in the Lok Sabha on Friday.
The National Sports University Bill, 2018, would eventually replace an ordinance promulgated on May 31. The legislation was introduced in the Lok Sabha in August last year, but it could not be passed. Since students had already been enrolled, the government had come out with an ordinance to protect their interests. The discussion on the Bill had begun on August 1.
Responding to the debate, Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore said the university will be set up at a cost of Rs 524 crore. A sportsperson will be the vice-chancellor, and the university’s academic council will also consist of sportspersons, he said.
The legislation empowers the university to set up outlying campuses throughout the country and also abroad. The university and its outlying campuses aims to impart training to athletes, sports officials, referees, and umpires and evolve as centres of excellence. The government has signed an agreement with University of Canberra and Victoria University for development of curriculum, research facilities and laboratories, Rathore said.
The minister informed members that the government had increased stipend and food allowances of sportspersons by 100 per cent, and salary of the staff has also been raised.
Citing a report published by The Indian Express, M B Rajesh of the CPI(M) said that the situation of sports administration in the country is bad. The Express had reported that of the two key officials leading the Indian sports contingent to Jakarta Asian Games, one was jailed for a year for his role in a Commonwealth Games corruption case and the other official’s appointment as a joint director-general of Commonwealth Games was investigated by the CBI after the CVC alleged misuse of power by him.
Lauding the government’s move, BJP member Anurag Thakur made several suggestions for encouraging a sports culture and to improve the country’s prospects in international competitions. Thakur said the university must be attached to schools and other universities across India through a “bicycle rim model”, in which the proposed university should be the “axle at the centre of sports culture” connected with schools and colleges through rims. He also said MPs should be given funds to organise sports competitions in their constituencies.
Among others who participated in the discussion are N K Premchandran (RSP), Manoj Tewari (BJP), Thokchom Meinya (Congress), Jithender Reddy (TRS), Prasun Banerjee (Trinamool Congress), Kalikesh Narayan Singh Deo (BJD), Dhananjay Mahadik (NCP), and Ram Mohan Naidu Kinjarapu (TDP).