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3450Activists welcome move to include sports bodies under the RTI Act (The Hindu report)

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  • Sandeep Heble
    Aug 10, 2013
      Game for transparency

      Activists welcome move to include sports bodies under the RTI Act

      The right to information (RTI) activists spearheading the cause of
      transparency in sports bodies have welcomed the decision of the State
      government to remind all sports bodies recognised by the State-owned
      Sports Authority of Goa (SAG) about its circular dated July 8, 2010
      bringing them under the RTI Act, 2005.

      In a letter addressed to Secretary, Panjim Table Tennis association on
      March 22, Mr. Swapnil Naik, Director of Information and Publicity and
      Ex-Officio Additional Secretary to Government said all sports clubs
      and Sports Associations recognised by the SAG were covered under the
      RTI Act with immediate effect.

      It further directed them to submit information sought by citizens of
      India promptly.

      It further noted that if the information was delayed or not furnished,
      the First Appellate Authority-Directorate of Sports and Youth Affairs
      could be approached, failing which the applicant could appeal further
      as per the law.

      RTI activist and sports lover Sandeep Heble, who released the copies
      of the letter here on Friday, told The Hindu that a few sports bodies
      opposed the jurisdiction of the Act by claiming that they were not
      substantially funded. However, the clarification issued by the
      government makes subsection 2h(i) and 2h(ii) irrelevant as far as
      sports bodies were concerned.

      He also released the letter he had addressed to Chief Minister Manohar
      Parrikar on October 15 2012, which led to the issue being clarified by
      the government.

      His letter had pointed out that to further ensure that there is
      transparency in the functioning of the State-level Sports
      associations, the State government had issued guidelines published in
      Gazette Series III No. 15, bringing all State-level Sports
      associations recognised by the SAG within the scope and meaning of the
      RTI Act.

      However, barring Goa Chess Association, no other State-level Sports
      associations had appointed Public Information Officers or had made
      disclosures as is mandated by Section 4 of the RTI Act, the letter
      pointed out.

      Moreover, Mr. Heble complained that some associations were even
      rejecting RTI applications claiming that the publication in the
      Gazette were only guidelines and were not binding on them.

      It was also pointed out that State-level Sports associations received
      direct government funding for various purposes including funds for
      organisation of zonal, national and international championships, and
      training and participation of sportspersons and coaches, among other
      facilities. Some of them also receive indirect government funding such
      as free and/or concessional usage of its stadiums/ halls to conduct
      its championships, meetings, and rail fare concessions.

      For all the compelling reasons in interest of the players and public
      at large and to promote transparency and accountability in the
      functioning of the sports bodies the government must, by a
      notification, bring them under the RTI Act to ensure that they no more
      use delay tactics for suppressing information from the citizens.

      The letter had further urged the Chief Minister to seek the sports
      bodies recognised by the SAG be asked to fulfil their obligations of
      being a Public Authority as per Section 4 of the RTI Act like
      maintaining all their records duly catalogued and indexed in a manner
      so as to facilitate the terms of this Act, and to make suo motu
      disclosure of information for the benefit of the Public.

      Barring the Goa Chess Association, no other State-level Sports
      associations had appointed Public Information Officers or had made
      disclosures as mandated by Section 4 of the RTI Act

      Source: http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-karnataka/game-for-transparency/article5008752.ece