CHENNAI: The Board of Cricket for Control in India (BCCI), the richest sports body of India, must come under the ambit of the Right to Information Act (RTI) if it is eligible for tax breaks, former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Omar Abdullah said.
Abdullah made the comments on Day II of the ThinkEdu15 Conclave in Chennai on Saturday while conversing with Union MoS of Information and Broadcasting and Olympic silver medallist Rajyavardhan Rathore. “I would support bringing BCCI under the RTI. The BCCI does not pay any taxes too. If it is receiving tax concessions, it must come under the RTI,” Abdullah said. The taxed money could then be distributed to other sports that are in dire need of funds, he added.
Responding to a query on the popularity of cricket affecting other sports, Abdullah noted that other sports could be given priority by the government, but no sport would ever replace cricket as the most popular sport in India. “You can promote, but people must have interest in other sports,” he said.
He said that the quantum of money pumped into sport by the government was not enough.
Rathore lamented on the lack of participation in outdoor sports by the current generation.
“When I recently asked a youngster what games he played, he said video games. When I asked him about running, he said Temple Run. The time spent on the field is reducing,” he said.
Abdullah bemoaned that India wasn’t a sporty nation as yet, but the interest in sports was increasing. “With the increase in academic pressure, sport will be used by children to circumvent studies.” Abdullah cited the example of his own boys, who he said were not the best at studies and were looking at excelling in sports.
Change could be brought by having more sports periods in schools and conducting organised sporting activities during these sessions, Rathore suggested. “I have requested the Human Resource Development Ministry to enable online educational opportunities for sportspersons who might miss their regular lessons while practicing. They should have an Option B,” he said.