Haryana Government orders athletes to deposit 33% of their income; leaves Vinesh Phogat, Manoj Kumar angered
Commonwealth Games gold medallist Vinesh Phogat expressed her anger at the Haryana government's notification in which the state's Sports and Youth Welfare Department has ordered athletes to deposit one-third of their income earned from professional sports or commercial endorsements to the Haryana State Sports Council.
"This is not done at all," fumed Vinesh. "For quite some time now, these things have been going on in Haryana. I don't know why the government has initiated this battle against the athletes. Every day, some diktat or the other is coming through. This should not happen, but it's still happening," the 23-year-old told Sportskeeda.
"I'm not at all ready to pay 1/3rd of my earnings, for which I have worked hard, to the government. This is not cricket. We do not have that kind of income and if we give away 1/3rd, there won't be much left They have no idea what goes through behind any athlete's success. They have never been in sports," the champion wrestler said.
Manoj Kumar, one of India's top boxers, was also left frustrated. "When do us athletes get anything from the government?" he asked mockingly before adding, "We only get third or fourth class jobs in the government. These jobs pay so little and yet, we are ready to pay the tax. I believe that all athletes should be relieved of taxes."
"This diktat is nothing but harassment for the athletes. We earn about ₹30,000-35,000 in a month. Our equipment is very expensive...a good pair of shoes cost me ₹20,000...if we give away 33%, what will remain with us? If anything, the government should be paying us!," the 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medallist said.
Olympic bronze medallist Yogeshwar Dutt, took to Twitter to react to the bizarre development. He tweeted, "God save us from such officials, who are taking senseless decisions like this. Their contribution to the development of sports in Haryana has been zero but I am sure, they will play a big role in the decline of sports in the state. Now, athletes will move to other states and these officials will be responsible for this."
Earlier on Friday, the shocking diktat by the Haryana government came to light. "One-third of the income earned by sports-persons from professional sports or commercial endorsements will be deposited with the Haryana State Sports Council, amount to be used for development of sports in the state,” the notification read.
This is not the first time that the government is crossing swords with the state's athletes. Incidentally, a few weeks back, the government proposed to take a cut of the prize money of as many as 22 athletes who had won medals at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in April. In response, the athletes had threatened a walkout and consequently, the government had cancelled the award function.
The latest development is bound to leave many athletes from the state frustrated and it remains to be seen how the others react.