New Delhi: Indian Olympic Association Secretary General Randhir Singh on Saturday said curtailment of the tenure of IOA and National Sports Federation officials is not acceptable as constitutions of these bodies do not bar them from continuing in office for any number of terms.
Acting on a Public Interest Litigation, Delhi High Court had recently asked the Sports Ministry to strictly adhere to its guidelines of restricting the tenure of the office bearers of IOA and NSFs to two terms.
Randhir, however, expressed surprise that the issue of the tenure of office-bearers in IOA and NSFs was being raised.
“I am surprised on the issue of tenure of office bearers being raised at all. There is no such restriction in the constitution of IOA and NSFs. No curtailment of term is acceptable,” Randhir told reporters.
“There should be no restriction on the tenure of office bearers in order to maintain continuity in decision making and also to ensure that India has representation in various international federations. Seniority plays a very important role in decision making process,” he said.
“We are the largest democracy in the world and have a Parliament. Many Members of Parliament have been elected for many terms...so why so much hue and cry over the tenure of the office bearers of sports bodies who are duly elected by their respective General Assemblies?” he said.
Randhir also made it clear that IOA had decided to stop taking financial help from the government from this year as it did not want government interference in its functioning and not because it wants to avoid Right to Information.
Randhir said the reason that prompted the decision was that the national sports apex body was now financially sound and also confident of big sponsorships coming in.
“We would like to maintain our autonomy and do not want any interference in the running of Olympic Movement,” Randhir told reporters.
“At present we’re under the RTI but may not be on it after refusing this (the government funds). We are not shying away from the RTI because we ourselves want transparency in accounts, election, selection and running of the sports.
“We are now financially sound and we are confident of getting big sponsorships from international companies like Coca Cola, Samsung. We are in dialogue with them (the sponsors),” he said.
The government, following a Delhi High Court order, wants to bring all sports bodies costing the exchequer Rs 10 lakh or more under the purview of RTI. Though the money sanctioned to the IOA itself is not huge, money to the sports federations is routed through the body.
Randhir also revealed that IOA hardly used government money and on most occasions the money was just routed through it for the athletes.
“The money received from the government goes towards air travel, boarding and lodging of athletes where these are not provided by the organisers. The funds are also used for pocket allowance and playing kits and uniform of the players. The funds of government are only applicable to athletes who have been cleared by Government of India at cost to the government,” he said.
“The consolidated amount of air fare is paid directly to the Balmer and Lawrie Co. Ltd (travel agency of Government of India). Boarding and lodging are paid to organiser through IOA out of the government money. The pocket allowance is paid to the athlete from the government funds. Ceremonial kit and playing kit are issued to the athletes by indicating the same against their name,” he said.
Randhir said the organisers bearing a large portion of expenditure on athletes.
“In case of Olympic Games and Commonwealth Games, the air tickets and boarding and lodging are paid by the organisers. From 2014 Incheon Asian Games air travel, boarding and lodging will be borne by the organisers themselves,” he said.
Asked if the IOA had discussed the issue with National Sports Federations, especially the smaller ones, he said the decision involved only the Indian Olympic Association.
“This decision is only for the IOA and not the NSFs. But many sports federations which are self-sufficient may follow suit,” said Randhir.
On National Sports Federations’ expenses, the IOA General Secretary said “the only support for the use of NSFs as far as office is concerned is the salary of Assistant Secretary”.
“Rest of the funds are given to conduct National Championships. The funds for National Championships received from the government works out to approximately 20 per cent of total budget. Sub-Junior and Junior -- Rs 10 lakh, senior -- Rs 2 lakh,” he said.
“Towards total expenditure of Rs 50 lakh, the government contribute Rs 10 lakhs only for Sub-Junior and Junior Championships. For Senior, for a total expenditure of Rs 25 lakhs, government meets only Rs 2 lakh. Many federations do not take money from the government since too many riders are attached to it,” he added.
Ask if there was lack of transparency in the running of National Olympic Committee and National Sports Federations regarding the funds received from the government, Randhir said CAG audited its accounts and no adverse findings have been recorded till date.