Why are the sports bodies not appointing PIOs under the RTI Act?
Sports bodies receive massive support from the government by various means. The substantial finance is in the form of aid, land at nominal rates, income tax exemption and import of equipment at concessional rate amongst many other ways. There is some degree of government control as there are nominees on its board which are nominated. Many organisations have been recognised by the government of India and are representing the country in the international arena. The performance of Indians in the sports at the International field is far from satisfactory. There are many sports organisations which are functioning in an opaque manner with total disregard to the game they claim to represent.
There have been repeated calls by many forums, NGOs and individuals for bringing sports organisations under the ambit of the RTI Act. The sports minister of India has repeatedly made a call for bringing the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) within the RTI Act, but to no avail. At its sixth workshop on good governance in sports associations in Goa, the Goa RTI Forum has unanimously passed a resolution demanding that the State government must issue directions to all sports associations under the Sports Authority of Goa (SAG) to appoint public information officers (PIOs) and those bodies which fail to appoint PIOs should be derecognised by the SAG. Currently, the SAG has more than 50 sports associations under its fold.
The Goa State government has issued guidelines published in Gazette Series III No. 15, bringing all associations recognised by the SAG within the ambit of the RTI Act. However, except for the Goa Chess Association, no State-level sports associations has appointed Public Information Officers or has made any steps for making pro-active disclosure as mandated by Section 4 of the RTI Act. The Goa Cricket Association (GCA) has challenged the verdict of the State Information Commission that it is a public authority as per the RTI Act in the High Court.
Should there not be an initiative at the all India level?