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Vijay Goel set to pass bill to transfer sports to Concurrent List

In 1988, the Constitution (61st Amendment) Bill was introduced to transfer sports to the Concurrent List.

Vijay Goel with Indian Olympic stars and Narendra Modi

India’s poor performance at the Rio Olympics earlier this year has led to the government searching for talent across the country by broadening the talent base and decentralising sporting hubs.

There was a proposal to select 50 athletes from each state and “provide all types of required assistance to improve their performance”, earlier in the month. Another significant aspect was that each state selected at least one sport in which it has already produced special talents.

Most states chose sports in which they have a rich culture, for example, Telangana chose badminton and tennis on account of producing the likes of Saina Nehwal, P V Sindhu and Sania Mirza, while Tripura chose gymnastics owing to Dipa Karmakar’s recent exploits at the Olympics. In addition to these, the availability of infrastructure for the sport influenced the choice of each state.

It was decided during the meeting that the states should work in tandem with the union ministry. Despite multiple attempts by Vijay Goel, the Sports Minister, states did not give him the nod to begin work on shifting Sports to the Concurrent List from the State List.

According to a report in Indian Express, the minutes of the meeting said, “The matter regarding putting sports in the Concurrent List was raised, and it was decided that the matter will be pursued further and support of the states will be required.” However, Tamil Nadu “expressed reservations” regarding the proposal, it added.

Goel debated that  “a uniform direction through a National Sports Policy and Sports Code” would be provided by shifting Sports to the Concurrent List.

“Adopting different policies by different states and central government is proving a major hurdle in the development of sports, and uniformity in sports administration is the need of the hour,” the minister said.

The minister also “exhorted the states and union territories to consider and explore the possibility of making the National Sports Code applicable on state federations as well so as to make them more accountable for the delivery of results.”

Age and tenure guidelines on office-bearers of the various sports associations and several other necessities about transparency and accountability are imposed by the Code. When he was requested for more central funding by some states, Goel replied that the budget allocation for sports was less because of its position in the State List.

Since 1988, the proposed transfer has been a dicey situation. In 1988, the Constitution (61st Amendment) Bill was introduced to transfer sports to the Concurrent List. Later in 2009, the Bill was revoked due to the absence of consensus among states.

Earlier in October, Goel had said that a resolution regarding the transfer had been approved at a meeting with National Sports Federations. However, he also added that consultations with the state governments were required.

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