New Delhi: Taking an exception to Wipro Chairman Azim Premji`s questioning the priorities of the government in view of the huge money spent on the Commonwealth Games, Sports Minister M S Gill on Sunday said the industry should look what it was doing for sport, before criticising.
Premji in a recent article in a leading national daily had said that the thousands of crores of rupees being spent on Games could have been used for building schools and improve infrastructure in the poor parts of the country like Bihar.
Gill was obviously not pleased with what Premji wrote.
"Let (Indians) industry look what they are doing. The sportsperson of the country need money. My (message) for big captains (of industries) is that they should come forward," Gill said on the sidelines of the National Sports Awards ceremony here.
Premji, who heads India`s one of the largest software development companies, is the currently second richest person of the country with a personal wealth of USD 17 billion.
The Sports Minister cited example of Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates for his charity works for USA and asked the Indian industry to follow suit.
"I do wish to say that the Industry should contribute towards promotion of sport and spokespersons. I look at Bill Gates. He is doing so much, lot of charities and things which interests him for America," he said.
Initially the budget of the Organising Committee was 655 crore but the total spending now is estimated to be Rs. 11,494 crore.
And it will be close to 28,000 crore if the additional amount of Rs. 16,560, spent by Delhi government for the development of infrastructure in the capital is added.
"Is this drain on public funds for the greater common good? How can we forget that we could have established primary schools and health centres in tens of thousands of villages? Can we ignore this splurge the next time a malnourished child looks at us in the eye?"
"India needs more schools, and the existing schools need better infrastructure and more teachers. To not have this, and to instead spend on a grand sporting spectacle sounds like we have got our priorities wrong," Premji had written.
Gill on his part, spoke about industry houses like Tata Steel Limited, who were presented `Rashtriya Khel Protsahana Puruskar` for their contribution in development of sport in the country.
"We have started recognising, from last year, to recognise the industry houses (who are doing something for sport). Tata got their second award today," he said.