Updated: March 18, 2020 12:24:37 am
The Indian cricket board has decided that henceforth only the chief selectors of the senior and junior national teams will fly business class on domestic flights. After this directive, Sunil Joshi, the newly-selected chairman of the panel will get this facility while his colleagues will fly economy class.
However, the restriction is lifted for any overseas travel in flights that takes more than seven hours. For shorter-duration flights, typically in domestic journeys, the other selectors and the BCCI general managers will fly economy class, an internal communication of the Indian board stipulated.
Till now, all the selectors had been allowed business-class travel on all journeys after a change in policy affected in 2013.
The senior selection committee comprises Joshi, Sarandeep Singh, Harvinder Singh, Devang Gandhi and Jatin Paranjpe whereas the junior selection panel is chaired by Ashish Kapoor and also has Debashish Mohanty, Amit Sharma and the two outgoing selectors Gyanendra Pandey and Rakesh Parikh. The Indian board is yet to appoint a women’s selection committee after the last one completed its four-year tenure recently.
The Indian Express understands that the BCCI regime headed by president Sourav Ganguly and secretary Jay Shah felt the board will save a decent sum by restricting the number of personnel allowed to fly business class. Even general manager (cricket operations) Saba Karim, a former India wicketkeeper, will now have to fly economy class on domestic flights.
In 2013, the Indian board had changed its policy for selectors’ travel. Until then, they flew economy class but a few of them complained that they felt a sense of unfairness when they travelled with Indian team members for away tours.
“It didn’t look nice as we saw them seated in business class and we walk pass them towards our seats in economy class. We had requested BCCI then and they had agreed for selectors also to travel business class,” a former selector said.
In 2017, the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (COA), headed by Vinod Rai, has approved the request of business-class travel for all cricketers for their domestic flights after the players complained about being mobbed while travelling and lack of privacy.
When the current regime took over in October last year, BCCI had made it clear that no member, barring the office-bearers, will be entitled to any TA/DA (Travelling allowance and Dearness allowance) for attending the annual general meeting held in Mumbai.
In August 2018, The Indian Express had accessed a detailed half-yearly official expense sheet, and emails of foreign exchange and air travel approvals, of the BCCI, which showed that the board had spent nearly Rs 1 crore on official engagements of its top three office-bearers, and half of the amount was spent on TA/DA allowance. The BCCI travel policy used to then allow its office-bearers $750 per day overseas and Rs 20,000 in India — apart from other perks such as five-star accommodation, vehicle for local travel and first-class air travel. An executive assistant, who travels with BCCI officials abroad, used to get $350 per day. To put that figure in perspective, the world’s richest sports body FIFA paid its council members $150 per day during the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Earlier, the BCCI used to make travel and lodging arrangements for members attending working committee, special general body and any other committee meetings. Each member used to get an allowance of Rs 20000 per meeting. However, post Lodha committee recommendations, the BCCI hasn’t had any working committee.
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