Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore to cut SAI jobs by half

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The government aims to cut the staff of the Sports Authority of India (SAI) by half to ensure professionalism and bring in more accountability, union minister for youth affairs and sports Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore told ET in an exclusive interaction.

“We are going to cut strength of SAI by 50% by 2022. We don’t need so many people. Remaining people will be ably supported by professionals. All the sports bodies – SAI, National Sports Federations (NSFs) – have to step up in terms of delivery,” he said. Rathore had in a tweet last month said that the word ‘authority’ has no place in sports today. The minister also said sports in India will no longer suffer from ‘red-tape’ delays.

“Sports can’t be run by bureaucrats. Indian sports has suffered enough, but not anymore,” Rathore added.  The minister said implementation of the much-delayed Sports Code is also on his priority list. He added that the government has submitted its report on the Sports Code to the Supreme Court.

“Our outlook towards the Sports Code is going to be very stringent. We are making sure that athletes are going to be at the centre of all the activities and that transparency and efficiency are of paramount importance.” On facilities for sportsmen, Rathore said: “Our motto is to give them ‘sammaan’ (respect) and ‘suvidha’ (convenience). These are the critical first steps. Players, who are bringing the country pride, cannot be treated as second class citizens. So, the whole system has to be redesigned with players at the centre.”

As an immediate relief, Rathore has launched an out-of-pocket allowance of Rs 50,000 per month for top athletes with effect from September. This amount will be in addition to training and diet money.

“Many of these stadiums are not being utilized in the absence of regular sports events. Why are we wasting this infrastructure? They can operate these stadiums to organize sporting events, can (sell) tickets and invest back in the upkeep and promotion of sports. We have already identified five big stadiums under SAI for which we are seeking corporate partnership,” he added.

The minister also hopes to tackle doping and use of banned performance-enhancing drugs. He said that while the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) is working on improving awareness, there is also a committee working on anti-doping measures.

“We have a three-prong vision for eradicating the problem of doping. First is to create more awareness by organizing seminars. Second, bringing coaches under the fold of awareness and responsibility, and third, and most important, is punitive measures. We want to make it clear to everyone that doping is completely unacceptable,” the minister said.

Source:- Economic Times

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