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Sports Code relaxation done to help bodies during pandemic: Rijiju

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New Delhi, Feb 3 (IANS) Relaxation in the the National Sports Development Code of India 2011 is being provided so as to support National Sports Federations (NSF) during the Covid-19 pandemic, said Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju on Wednesday.

The ministry in its circular sent to all NSFs and the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) on Monday said that it has made use of the ‘relaxation clause’ in the Sports Code by which it shall have the power to relax any of the provisions pertaining to granting or renewal of recognition to NSFs.

“During (Covid-19) pandemic, we had given relaxations to the federation. For renewals and elections you need physical movement which was not possible. So we had extended some relaxations at the time. There are guidelines in the sports code for recognition of the sports federations,” said Rijiju at the launch of the Fit India office at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here.

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“But during special circumstances like Covid, it is the moral duty of the givernment to provide help. We cannot be punishing somebody during a pandemic,” he further said.

Earlier, lawyer-turned-sports activist Rahul Mehra said that the circular was “purely illegal”.

“The ministry in its own submission advocated for the NSFs to follow the Code for clean sports. Now it’s taking a different course to support the NSFs as many of them don’t follow the government guidelines meant for good governance,” Mehra told IANS.

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Rijiju also said that there is no shortage of funds in the ministry for preparation for the Tokyo Olympics, which is scheduled to be held this year from July 23 to August 8.

The Central government in the Union budget for 2021-22 presented on Monday allocated Rs.2,596.14 crore to sports, less by Rs.230.78 crore — or, 8.16 per cent — allocated in the previous financial year during which hardly any sports activity was held due to Covid-19 pandemic. However, Rijiju said that the budget allocated for the next fiscal is to be compared with that of 2019/20 as much of the sports budget in the last fiscal was not used due to the pandemic.

Rijiju also said that “there is a provision for asking a revised allocation” if needed.

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–IANS

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