Right to Information
Why BCCI needs to come under RTI
The Report of Justice Lodha Panel on cricket reforms, which was made public, last week, has recommended the Board of Cricket Control of India -BCCI to come under RTI. Here are the reasons
 
Besides a string of recommendations, to the Supreme Court, for cricket reforms in India, the three-member panel led by Justice RM Lodha has also suggested to the legislature to consider bringing the Board of Cricket Control of India (BCCI) under the ambit of the Right to Information (RTI) Act and to ensure transparency in all its functions and dealings of money. 
 
The Report states, “The Right to Information Act, 2005 (RTI Act) enacts that public authorities shall make known the particulars of the facilities available to citizens. Having regard to the emphasis laid by the Supreme Court that BCCI discharges public functions and also the Court’s reference to indirect approval of the Central and State Governments in activities, which has created a monopoly in the hands of the BCCI over cricket, the Committee feels that the people of the country have a right to know details about the BCCI’s functions and activities. It is therefore recommended that the legislature must seriously consider bringing BCCI within the purview of the RTI Act.”
 
However, presently the issue of the BCCI coming under the RTI Act is sub-judice. Therefore, the Report mentions “While the issue of the BCCI being amenable to the RTI Act is sub-judice before the High Court of Madras in WP No20229/2013, many respondents who appeared and interacted with the Committee were of the view that BCCI’s activities must come under the RTI Act.”
 
The Lodha Panel Report has put immense importance to “transparency” by the BCCI. Besides the RTI Act, it has recommended that the website of BCCI be transparent (information on the website is also an integral part of the RTI Act) about the tenders and bids, on annual reports, balance sheets and resolutions and links to online ticket facilities.
 
The Lodha Panel Report has also has recommended the regional bodies of BCCI to put most of the information in public domain, observing corruption, financial irregularities, conflict of interest, partiality in selection of cricketers and so on.
 
Here’s what it has proposed for the BCCI and its regional offices:
 
“…the Committee proposes that clear principles of transparency be laid down, and the BCCI website and office will carry all rules, regulations and office orders of the BCCI, the constitution of the various committees, their resolutions, the expenditures under various heads, the reports of the Ombudsman/ Auditor/ Electoral Officer/ Ethics Officer and the annual reports and balance sheets.” 
 
“In addition, norms and procedures shall be laid down for the engagement of service professionals and contractors, and there shall be full transparency of all tenders floated and bids invited by or on behalf of the BCC.”
 
“….The website shall also have links to the various stadia with seating capacities and transparent direct ticketing facilities.”
 
Constitution & Functioning of Members Apart from the BCCI 
The majority of the regional members of the BCCI are societies registered either under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 or the respective State acts. A handful have recently been registered as companies under the provisions of the Companies Act, 1956 (Haryana, Punjab, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra). The Cricket Club of India (CCI) and the National Cricket Club (NCC) are also public companies limited by guarantee. Thus, all existing Members of the BCCI have different structures. Uniformity in the constitution and functioning of the Member Associations is necessary for the proper governance of the game. The different structures in Member Associations have brought about much disquiet in Indian cricket. 
 
Compliance: Companies and Societies have fundamentally different constitutions and objects, apart from different reporting and compliance mechanisms. While the associations that are companies have been registered as not-for-profit (earlier under Section 25 of the Companies Act, 1956 and now under Section 8 of the Companies Act, 2013), there is little to show that there has been compliance as legally mandated. As far as Associations registered as societies are concerned, the relevant statutes provide for a comparatively lesser degree of transparency.
 
Expenditure & Infrastructure: One of the major criticisms of the functioning of the BCCI has been the fact that there has been no accountability by Member Associations of the grants given to them by the BCCI for the ‘development of cricket’. No detailed account are maintained, no oversight or audit is carried out, and on the rare occasion where a particular Association has been found wanting, there is no follow up action. The funds are allegedly utilised for winning votes by apportioning amounts to constituents (clubs, and district associations) and quite frequently being siphoned away without any accountability.
 
State infrastructure remains poorly developed with very few turf wickets or cricket grounds outside of the existing stadium. The stadia (even new ones) do not provide basic facilities to the public, nor offer food and water at a reasonable price or of an acceptable quality. More importantly, the lack of hygienic toilets and access to the differently-abled discourage many patrons. The ad-hoc and irregular manner of creating stands or refurbishing the premises without proper municipal permissions has led to a standoff with at least two state governments (Delhi and Tamil Nadu). The eventual victim is, of course, the cricket fan who loses out on a chance to watch a home match.
 
Lack of professionalism: There is no distinction between governance and management in the Member Associations, and no steps have been taken to create modern and professional systems to take cricket administration forward. The accounting systems for example, are uniformly capable of alterations without a trace, thereby opening up the possibility of abuse. There is no incentive to create revenue streams, and it is time to rouse the Member Associations from their comfortable couches where they rest upon BCCI’s largesse.
 
Dual posts: Strangely, while conflict of interest issues have been at the heart of recent controversies, virtually all office bearers of the BCCI continue to be office bearers in their respective State Associations at the same time. Presidents and Secretaries of State Associations are to discharge functions with the primary interest of the State in mind, but as BCCI office bearers, these interests would have to be subordinated to that of national interest. Often, with powers centred on an office bearer, that individual has been found to appoint his State associates to critical posts in the BCCI, thereby creating an imbalance.
 
Interference in selection: Over the last two decades, there have been disturbing accounts of some of the country’s leading players being forced to migrate and play for other States because the home state’s administration looks to suppress their avenues and brook no independent action by the Selection Committees. Large amounts of influence, in all possible unsavoury forms have been utilised in order to have one player or other selected, with merit being wholly ignored. The problem is so deep-rooted, that many feel that the States are not inducting or fielding their best available talent.
 
Transparency: While quite a few associations have websites, the relevant and critical details including their constitution, bye-laws, accounts, expenditure, ethics guidelines and player statistics are rarely available or up to date. There are many others who do not even have or maintain websites, nor do their offices respond to requests from journalists and others for sharing such material.
 
Information: Technology solutions, as referred to earlier, would be useful to ensure that such transparency is achieved. Each State Association will necessarily have a website that carries the following minimum details:

a. The Constitution, Memorandum of Association and Rules & Regulations, Bye-Laws and Office Orders and directions that govern the functioning of the Association, its Committees, the Ombudsman and the Ethics Officer.

b. The list of Members of the Association as well as those who are defaulters.

c. The annual accounts & audited balance sheets and head-wise income and expenditure details. 

d. Details of male, female and differently abled players representing the State at all age groups with their names, ages and detailed playing statistics.

e. Advertisements and invitations for tenders when the Association is seeking supply of any goods or services (exceeding a minimum prescribed value), or notices regarding recruitment, as also the detailed process for awarding such contracts or making such recruitments.  

f. Details of all goals and milestones for developing cricket in the State along with timelines and the measures undertaken to achieve each of them.

g. Details of all office bearers and other managerial staff (including CEO, COO, CFO, etc.)

h. Details of directives from the BCCI and their compliances. These websites will have to be maintained and updated at least on a quarterly basis. All the above information will have to be maintained at the registered office of the State Association and when sought, the same shall be shared with the applicant on the payment of a reasonable fee, as may be prescribed by the Association. 

 
Let us see how much of the Lodha Panel’s recommendations are implemented, considering the heavy money and political clout that the BCCI has come to be.
 
(Vinita Deshmukh is consulting editor of Moneylife, and also convener of the Pune Metro Jagruti Abhiyaan. She is the recipient of prestigious awards like the Statesman Award for Rural Reporting which she won twice in 1998 and 2005 and the Chameli Devi Jain award for outstanding media person for her investigation series on Dow Chemicals. She co-authored the book "To The Last Bullet - The Inspiring Story of A Braveheart - Ashok Kamte" with Vinita Kamte and is the author of "The Mighty Fall".)

User

COMMENTS

jaideep shirali

11 months ago

In addition to all the legal reasons for BCCI to cpme under the RTI, I have a common sense based question. If the BCCI team is allowed to fly the national flag and call itself the national team, it must come under RTI. Otherwise let Pawar & Co. call BCCI's team by some other name and let the actual Indian team get all the privileges that a national team deserves. We will find other players to play for India, never mind if it takes time. BCCI is the proof of the pudding to show what our politicians are capable of.

Raj K Swamy

11 months ago

BCCI has no qualms about availing Govt concessions be it in taxes or land/facility allocations, use of public facilities for conducting matches/police security,Power/water /traffic diversions as well as claim to select and play with "National" team. So in return they shoul conduct their affairs transparently and be accountable to their customers ( which is us) as well. If not, it is for the customers to boycott BCCI events/matches and pressure them to be transparent- Otherwise the customers must share the blame.

Ankur Bhatnagar

11 months ago

I have a question here: Who or what is BCCI as an entity -- is it a private company, a society, a trust, a department under the sports ministry, a non-profit, an NGO...? Who owns the profits generated by BCCI?

If it is a private company, how can it be subjected to RTI or government or judicial scrutiny unless they break any law?

R Balakrishnan

11 months ago

They also get some tax breaks- Since that amounts to the taxpayers subsidising them in a manner of speaking, it is only fair and proper that they disclose to the fullest.

Indian basket of crude oils diving towards $30 a barrel
New Delhi : The Indian basket of crude oils dived sharply to the $30 a barrel mark as sweet grade UK Brent prices fell on Thursday's trade to levels last seen in 2004, pulled down this time by a falling Chinese currency and a second emergency halt in China's stock trading this week that spooked Asian markets.
 
The Indian Basket, composed of 73 percent sour grade Dubai and Oman crudes and the rest by Brent, closed at $31.33 per barrel of 159 litres on Wednesday, falling from $32.51 on the previous trading day.
 
The US crude output increased unexpectedly last week to 9.219 million barrels a day according to the US Energy Information Agency. Adding to investors' worries was the lack of signs that US shale oil producers would start to cut production in face of the plunging prices.
 
The West Texas Intermediate for February delivery moved down $2 to settle at $33.97 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the lowest close since December 2008.
 
Brent crude for February delivery decreased $2.19 to close at $34.23 a barrel on the London ICE Futures Exchange, the lowest close since June 2004.
 
China further depreciated the yuan on Thursday, leading to regional currencies and stock markets tumbling as investors feared China's moves could trigger competitive currency devaluations from trading partners.
 
The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index declined by 7.32 percent, which led to a halt in trading, as the circuit breaker mechanism was triggered.
 
Commodity prices, too, plunged as the economy of the world's largest consumer struggled. 
 
China's service activity grew at a slower pace in December, fuelling worries about a slowdown in the world's second biggest oil consuming economy.
 
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi met here on Tuesday with global oil and gas experts to discuss ways of boosting investments in the exploration and skill development at a time of low oil prices.
 
Among the foreign invitees to the meeting were British oil major BP's chief executive Bob Dudley, International Energy Agency (IEA) executive director Fatih Birol, and Royal Dutch Shell's director (Projects) Harry Brekelmans.
 
The discussions focused, among other things, on subjects such as increasing the share of gas in India's energy mix, fresh investment in oil and gas exploration in India, regulatory frameworks, international acquisition of oil and gas assets, the Prime Minister's Office said.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

User

Bankmen's January 8 strike to hit banking operations
Chennai : Nearly 340,000 bank employees across the country will strike work on January 8 to protest the implementation of the new Career Progression Scheme (CPS), a leader of the All India Bank Employees' Association (AIBEA) said here on Thursday.
 
He said the strike will be in protest against the violation of the bilateral settlement by five associate banks of the State Bank of India (SBI), namely State Bank of Mysore, State Bank of Patiala, State Bank of Hyderabad, State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur and State Bank of Travancore.
 
He said the five associate banks were bent on implementing the new Career Progression Scheme (CPS) for their employees in violation of a bilateral agreement with their respective unions.
 
"It is the managements of the five banks that are on war path against the employees and not the other way round. At the last conciliation meeting, the chief labour commissioner (CLC) had advised the bank managements to put on hold the implementation of the new service conditions," AIBEA general secretary C.H. Venkatachalam told IANS.
 
The strike will have a great impact on the banking public since January 9 will be a weekly holiday for banks.
 
"The Indian Banks' Association (IBA) is regrettably silent on the matter. We have been forced to go on strike. The branch offices will not be closed but normal operations might be affected due to employees going on strike," Venkatachalam said.
 
According to Venkatachalam, the five banks also want to abolish permanent cadres like sweepers and outsource labour activity which, it contended, cannot be done unilaterally.
 
The AIBEA perceives uniform service conditions between the SBI and its five associate banks as a step towards merger.
 
Venkatachalam said there already was uniformity in technology, branding, work procedure and use of ATMs by account holders of the six banks.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

User

COMMENTS

Balu

11 months ago

Consolidation is the name of the game worldwide. Here we have an irresponsible & self centered union AIBEA, whose office bearers want to cling on to a dinosaurian ideology and market dynamics. Wake up guys and allow modern times to catch up with your cob-web induced garbled thinking.

We are listening!

Solve the equation and enter in the Captcha field.
  Loading...
Close

To continue


Please
Sign Up or Sign In
with

Email
Close

To continue


Please
Sign Up or Sign In
with

Email

BUY NOW

The Scam
24 Year Of The Scam: The Perennial Bestseller, reads like a Thriller!
Moneylife Magazine
Fiercely independent and pro-consumer information on personal finance
Stockletters in 3 Flavours
Outstanding research that beats mutual funds year after year
MAS: Complete Online Financial Advisory
(Includes Moneylife Magazine and Lion Stockletter)