In June, a couple of months before the Tokyo Olympics, the Sports Authority of India (SAI) and the sports ministry had invited applications for the post of Target Olympics Podium (TOP) Scheme Chief Executive Officer (CEO) on their website.
The last date of application was within 30 days of the advertisement.
This was when Rajesh Rajagopalan was still the CEO and his tenure was getting over after the Olympics. It’s more than one month now since Rajagopalan left, but the CEO is yet to be appointed.
It is understood that there were quite a few candidates who appeared for interviews and the process was drawing to an end.
It was expected that a new CEO would be in place as soon as the Paralympics were over or at least by the end of September.
However, on September 21, the sports ministry and the SAI websites hosted a fresh announcement inviting applications from the same TOP Scheme CEO’s post.
The advertisement is under the subject: ‘Engagement of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) on contractual basis and under requirement: One Chief Executive Officer, Target Olympic Podium Scheme, Delhi. (CEO, TOPS)’.
What seems interesting is a clause in the advertisement. In the June ad, under educational qualification it said: “i. Essential: 2 years Post Graduate degree in any field after completion of 3 years or more of Undergraduate Degree or MBBS/B.Tech from a recognised Institution”. However, in the September 21 ad, the qualification criteria has been tweaked. It says, “i. Essential: Graduation in any discipline from a recognised University/Institution”.
Other criteria under ‘Desirable’ remains the same. But instead of 30 days, this time the potential candidates have 10 days to apply.
It seems after three months SAI realised what should be the minimum educational qualification for TOPS CEO — instead of PG just graduation in any field would do.
However, it is understood that SAI will consider the candidates who appeared in the previous round of interviews. Even the ad says, “Applicants who have applied in response to earlier advertisement notification dated 16.06.2021 need not apply again”.
With the Olympics and the Paralympics over, it was time the ministry and the SAI had appointed a CEO. There are quite a few things that needs to be done. It’s already September and by the time interviews and appointments are done, it would be somewhere in October.
The TOP Scheme core group was until the Olympics and the new list needs to be made. With the Commonwealth and Asian Games next year, it is prudent to update the list. More than deserving, there are quite a few athletes who should be weeded out.
Also there are some athletes in the development group who are expected to get inducted into the core group.
But for the TOP Scheme, first priority would be to appoint a CEO. Even if the process takes a month, the new CEO would take time to update the core group list.
Understanding the functioning also would take time and with Commonwealth Games (July 28-August 8) and Asian Games (September 10-25) less than one year away, it’s high time that a CEO takes office soon.
India had the best ever show at the Olympics and Paralympics this time. Hope the momentum continues.