इंडियन आवाज़     10 Aug 2022 01:30:06      انڈین آواز

Parliament passes National Anti-Doping Bill 2021

Bill prohibits athletes, athlete support personnel and other persons from engaging in doping


Parliament has passed the National Anti-Doping Bill 2021 with the Rajya Sabha approving it unanimously on Wednesday. The Lok Sabah has already passed the bill. The Bill prohibits athletes, athlete support personnel and other persons from engaging in doping. Under the new legislation, violation of anti-doping rules may result in disqualification of results including forfeiture of medals, points and prizes, ineligibility to participate in a competition or event for a prescribed period, and financial sanctions.

Currently, anti-doping rules are implemented by the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA), which was established as a society. The Bill provides for constituting NADA as a statutory body headed by a Director General appointed by the central government. The functions of the Agency include planning, implementing and monitoring anti-doping activities, and investigating anti-doping rule violations. The legislation seeks to establish the National Board for anti-doping in sports to make recommendations on anti-doping regulations and ensure compliance with international commitments on anti-doping. The Board will constitute a National Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel for determining the consequences of anti-doping rule violations.

Replying to a debate on the bill in the Rajya Sabha, Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports Anurag Thakur said that the government will leave no stone unturned in the promotion of sports and enhancing facilities for the sportspersons and creating sports infrastructure. Mr Thakur said, earlier the bill had been referred to the Standing Committee for wider consultations and in the new bill, most of the recommendations of the Committee have been incorporated in it. Mr Tahkur added that India has joined the league of a few nations including US, China, Australia and Japan which have their own Laws against doping. He said, at present, there is one National Dope Testing Laboratory is functional and in the future more and more such testing laboratories will be set up in the States as per requirement. He said, currently the country has the capacity to test six thousand samples of athletes for dope tests in a year and if the international sports events are organised in India then there may be a requirement of enhancing the capacity of testing 10 thousand samples in a month for which more laboratories are needed. He mentioned that in these laboratories not only the samples of domestic athletes will be tested but also the samples collected from others countries will also be tested. The Union Minister assured the House that the government’s intention is to strengthen the National Anti-Doping Agency and that there will be no interference in it. He said, the appointment criteria of the Director General in NADA has been set as per the laid down criteria of the World Anti-Doping Agency.

Responding to a member’s query about the opening of a National Sports University worth 900 crore rupees in Manipur, Mr. Thakur said that Narendra Modi Government has worked on Act East policy and not on the basis of population as athletes from the northeast have made an immense contribution to a sports arena in India.

Talking about the sports budget, Mr Anurag Thakur said that during 2013-14, only 866 crore rupees had been earmarked for sports and now this budget has increased to 2 thousand 254 crore rupees. On the allegation about budgetary allocation on sports by AAP’s Sanjay Singh, Mr Thakur said that the Delhi government had allocated 284 crore rupees for sports but it has only spent 40 crore rupees.

He also appealed to the Members of Parliament to organise sports events in their constituencies for the promotion of sports.

Earlier moving the bill in the House, Mr Thakur said that the legislation is intended to protect the interest of sports person and provide benefit to the athletes by creating awareness among them about doping. He said, if an athlete is found to be involved in doping then the possibility of winning medals in the tournaments gets hampered. He said, in recent years, awareness about sports has increased in the country. Mr. Thakur highlighted the achievement of Indian players in the Olympics and various international sports tournaments. He said, despite the Covid pandemic, India bagged seven medals in the Tokyo Olympics which is the highest in the Indian Olympic history.

Initiating the discussion, Deepender Hooda of Congress supported the Bill saying that it is the need of the hour. He appreciated the government initiatives of Khelo India. Mr. Hooda stressed the need to provide more job opportunities and incentives to sports people. In this regard, he gave the example of the previous Congress government in Haryana who had supported sportspeople at large scale. Dr. Santanu Sen of TMC stressed the need to make such a robust system so that National Board can function independently. NR Elango of DMK said, wider consultation is required and the recommendation of the standing committee has to be thought of. Sanjay Singh of Aam Aadmi Party also supported the Bill saying it is in the national interest. He questioned the government over the budgetary allocation for spots saying three thousand crore rupees allocation is not adequate. Mr. Singh also highlighted the efforts of Delhi government to promote sports culture in the national capital. Dr. John Brittas expressed concern about the structure and autonomy of the National Board.

On the other hand, nominated member PT Usha said, the country is making unprecedented progress in various fields including sports after 2014. She said, the sports persons are now getting better facilities for training, better diet and best coaching. She stressed the need to create more awareness about the abuse of performance-enhancing drugs. She expressed confidence that India can become a sports superpower in the next ten years. Dr. DP Vats of BJP said that doping materials are hazardous to health. He stressed that more job opportunities to be provided to sports persons.

Fauzia Khan of NCP welcomed the bill saying it is well framed. She emphasised on carrying out awareness programmes at all levels against the abuse of performance-enhancing drugs.

G K Vasan of TMC (M) while supporting the bill, raised the issue of data privacy of athletes if they are found innocent in case of doping charges.

Abdul Wahab of IUML stressed frequent testing of sportspersons and creating more awareness against doping. He also suggested the opening of dope testing laboratories in the States.

Kanakamedala Ravindra Kumar of TDP said that the qualifications of the Director General of NADA are not specified in the Bill and are left to be notified through Rules.

Various members from political parties including AIADMAK, TMC, CPI and BJP participated in the discussion.

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