In a significant but tricky move, Sports Minister Vijay Goel has said that a resolution has been passed to transfer sports from the State List of the Indian Constitution to the Concurrent List in a meeting of the National Sports Federations called by the government in New Delhi.
Goel said that NSFs have agreed to make an effort to bring sports in the Concurrent List from the State List, though he said it will have to consult the state governments before taking up the issue.
"This is the second meeting of the ministry with the National Federations. We earlier had a meeting with some NSFs and in this second meeting today more than 20 NSFs took part. All of them wanted sports to be included in the Concurrent List of the Constitution instead of this item being included in the State List currently.
"So, we took an important decision today and a resolution was passed by the NSFs present today that sports should be included in the Concurrent List," Goel told reporters after the meeting on Thursday.
"It is a process and we have to consult the state governments and their sports ministers. After that we will go ahead and hopefully, sports will be in the Concurrent List. That will allow both the Central and state governments work together for the betterment of sports in the country," Goel added.
The transfer of sports in the Concurrent List has been a tricky issue as a similar effort of the Sports Ministry had failed in 2009 when a Bill was withdrawn due to lack of consensus among the states.
In 1988, the Union cabinet wanted to transfer 'sports' to the Concurrent List from the State List with the objective of ensuring effective implementation of the National Sports Policy, especially to broad-base sports, regulate its conduct and management and achieve all-round excellence. But in 2009, the Cabinet decided to withdraw the Constitution (61st Amendment) Bill of 1988 due to lack of consensus.
Asked if the inclusion of sports in the Concurrent List will have any bearing on the efforts of the Union Sports Ministry to pass the Sports Bill, he said, "Regardless of this issue, we have been pushing for the passage of the Sports Bill. I think there will be some more consultations before we bring the Sports Bill."
He said the meeting also agreed to bring a quaterly journal on Indian sports to highlight the achievement of the sportspersons.
"All the NSFs felt that people do not know the achievements of each sport and an effort should be made to highlight the achievements. So, it was agreed to start a quarterly journal."
The government also decided to restore grants to some of the 26 NSFs which have been included in the 'Others' category in the priority list of the Sports Ministry. The grants were stopped in 2014.
"We have categories of top priority, priority, general and others in the classification of sports in terms of giving grants. The grant of some of the sports in the 'others' category have been stopped. But in today's meeting, it was decided that these grants will be restored," the sports minister said.
"These are the three decisions we took today. The endeavour of the sports ministry is two-fold, that is broad-basing sports and at the same time achieving excellence in targetted disciplines. We have had a round of meeting with the Arjuna, Dronacharya and Khel Ratna Award winners in our efforts in this direction. We have also sought feedbacks from all the Rio Olympians on their suggestions to improve Indian sport," he said.
The NSFs of Football, Cycling, Fencing, Billiards and Snooker, Volleyball, Rugby, Squash, Kabaddi, Wushu, Ten-pin Bowling, Body Building, Baseball, Handball, Kho-Kho, Soft Tennis, Sepaktakraw were among those which took part in Thursday's meeting.
Participating in the discussions, the representatives of the NSFs stressed the need to increase flow of funds to the sports sector.
They appreciated the support extended by the Ministry to them. They thanked the Minister for giving them an opportunity to voice their concerns.
The NSFs supported the Minister's call for transparency and good governance among sports bodies.
This was the second meeting of the Minister with NSFs. He earlier had a meeting with some NSFs on 29th September, 2016 to discuss India's performance in Rio Olympics, 2016 and the roadmap for future.
Image: Sports Minister Vijay Goel