Citizens' Issues
Sports stars take the moolah, others left penniless in Haryana
The revelation has come from Haryana's sports department itself before the Punjab and Haryana High Court
 
Encouraging medal-winning international sports stars from Haryana is seeing other sportspersons in the state losing out.
 
The revelation has come from Haryana's sports department itself before the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
 
The Haryana government, which has been showering largesse on medal winners of international sporting winners, has admitted that all funds have been exhausted in giving cash rewards and other prizes to winners of Commonwealth Games and other events. It has further admitted that release of money to other international, national and state-level athletes has not been done for want of funds.
 
Bhupinder Singh Hooda's previous Congress government in Haryana (2005-2014), under its policy of promoting sports, had given away millions of rupees to sports stars from the state who won medals at the Olympics, the Asian Games and the Commonwealth Games.
 
The admission by the state government came in response to a public suit filed by high court lawyer H.C. Arora. The petition had sought directions to the state government to release cash awards to medal winners at state- and national-level championships.
 
"The budget for giving cash awards to sportspersons was exhausted on medal winners of the CWG. The proposal for giving cash awards to medal winners of state/national/international competitions is pending for approval of the higher authorities and money would be disbursed after getting the go-ahead," Haryana's additional director-sports O.P. Sharma told the high court in an affidavit.
 
The petitioner had pointed out the cases of athletes Sudesh, Poonam, Ritu and Sheetal of Kaithal, who had won medals in national and state level School Games in 2013-14 and were entitled to cash awards of Rs.15,000, Rs.10,000 and Rs.7,000 for gold, silver and bronze medals respectively. They were also entitled to a monthly scholarship.
 
The petition pointed out that the families of the medal-winning athletes did not have a sound financial status and the players had to spend money from their own pockets to participate in sporting events.
 
Hooda had distributed huge cash rewards, given jobs in police and other departments and distributed luxury cars like Audis and SX-4s, smartphones, land for sports academies, stadiums for villages of sportspersons and hundreds of kilograms of 'desi ghee'.
 
Between 25 and 30 percent of all medal-winning sportspersons for the country in the Olympics, Asian Games and Commonwealth Games in recent years had a Haryana connection.
 
In the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games, out of 101 medals won by India, 35 were claimed by players from Haryana. In the 2014 Glasgow CWG, out of India's 64 medals, 22 were bagged by Haryana players.
 
In the 2012 London Olympics, the 83-member Indian contingent had 19 players from Haryana. Out of the six medals (2 silver, 4 bronze) won, Haryana's players bagged four.
 
Boxers like Vijender Singh, Akhil Kumar and Jitender Kumar, wrestlers like Sushil Kumar, Yogeshwar Dutt and discuss thrower Krishna Punia are all from Haryana.
 
Even players from other places like wrestler Sushil Kumar (Delhi), badminton ace Saina Nehwal (Hyderabad) and shooter Gagan Narang (Hyderabad), who had family connections with Haryana, benefitted from the cash and other rewards.
 
Hooda, who himself is a badminton and tennis enthusiast and plays regularly, did not miss any opportunity to honour sportspersons.
 
His government enhanced cash rewards for winners of gold, silver and bronze medals in the next Olympic Games to Rs.5 crore, Rs.3 crore and Rs.2 crore . The rewards were also enhanced for the Asian Games and the Commonwealth Games.
 
In the past decade, 14,901 sportspersons got cash rewards of nearly Rs.82 crore from the Hooda government, while Rs.700 crore was spent on sports and sportspersons in this period.

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Shivraj called from abroad to accommodate former Vyapam chief in finance commission
Chouhan was on one of his foreign tours in June 2014 when he made the urgent call to the state finance department
 
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had hastily ordered the appointment of Malay Rai as Madhya Pradesh State Finance Commission member over the phone, an RTI query has revealed.
 
Rai was chairman of the MP professional examination board, or Vyapam, in 2009-10, and the order (dated June 6, 2014) was issued even as the Vyapam scam was being investigated. 
 
Chouhan was on one of his foreign tours in June 2014 when he made the urgent call to the state finance department.
 
This was revealed in an RTI reply given by the State Finance Department, to whistleblower Ajay Dubey. The RTI reply stated that the CM approved the proposal for the appointment on phone, subject to formal confirmation on his return from his trip overseas.
 
A copy of the State Finance department order has been provided in the RTI reply. The reply also said that the tenure of the finance commission will be up to June 30, 2015. 
 
Dubey told IANS that he would be filing one of several petitions in the Supreme Court regarding this. 
 
"What was the urgency in issuing the order telephonically? Our contention is that how can the state government appoint the former chairman of Vyapam to the finance commission when the examination board itself is under investigation, he said, adding that none of the officials of the board has yet got a clean chit.
 
Dubey also said that After the Vyapam question paper leaks in 2008 and 2009, the state government in 2010 had recruited central observers, including retired IAS, IFS and IPS officers and retired persons from academic field to observe and monitor the scanning of answer sheets.
 
"From 2010 till date about 500 central observers have been recruited by the state to monitor scanning of sheets, but still there have been irregularities. The scam hasn't stopped with regard to the recruitment of professionals," said Dubey
 
The MP Board, also known as Vyavsayik Pariksha Mandal or Vyapam conducts examinations to recruit government employees in the state and holds admission tests for medical courses.
 
It has been mired in controversies for years, but it eventually came to light when 20 people were arrested in 2013 for impersonating candidates appearing for the 2009 medical entrance examinations.
 
This was followed by arrests of the state's ex-education minister Laxmikant Sharma, bureaucrats, Vyapam officials, racketeers, middlemen, candidates and their parents after the Special Task Force (STF) was established in August 2013.
 
More than 2.000 had been arrested so far in connection with the scam. According to reports, the admission and recruitment scam involving politicians, senior officials and businessmen in Madhya Pradesh could be pegged at Rs.20,000 crore involving about 30,000 people.
 
Forty-five associated with the Vyapam scam have died - mostly unnaturally or under mysterious circumstances.

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Mamata, Naveen, Jayalalithaa skip Modi's NITI Aayog meet
Apart from nine chief ministers from Congress-ruled states, West Bengal's Mamata Banerjee, Odisha's Naveen Patnaik, Tamilnadu's J.Jayalalithaa were among the non-NDA chief ministers who skipped the NITI Aayog meet here on Wednesday.
 
The meet, convened by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, had the land acquisition bill on its agenda.
 
"Our chief ministers have not gone to attend the meeting of NITI Aayog as the party's stance on land bill is clear and it is against the legislation brought by the National Democratic Alliance government (NDA)," Congress spokesperson and former union minister R.P.N.Singh told IANS.
 
Congress has been opposing the land bill in its present form.
 
All the chief ministers of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-ruled states attended the meeting including Rajasthan's Vasundhara Raje, Madhya Pradesh's Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Chhattisgarh's Raman Singh.
 
Meanwhile, other prominent opposition chief ministers who attened the meeting were Bihar's Nitish Kumar, Delhi's Arvind Kejriwal and Tripura's Manik Sarkar.
 
Modi has convened the second meeting of the government council of NITI Aayog on Thursday in which the contentious land acquisition bill is expected to be discussed.
 
The meeting is being seen as an attempt by the NDA government to break the deadlock over the controversial bill that is facing a strong opposition from the Congress.
 
The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Second Amendment Bill, 2015) has been referred to a joint committee of both houses of parliament under the chairmanship of BJP's S.S. Ahluwalia.

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