Foreign coach gets Rs 6 lakh, Indian gets Rs 30,000!

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When it comes to making sportsmen do routine job instead of practice or pay fat cheques to foreign coaches and paltry sum to their native counterparts, Indian authorities seem to have a special knack.

This “practice” has now caught the attention of a Parliamentary Standing Committee, which has expressed dismay at the level of sports administration in the country.

The panel, headed by BJP MP Satyanarayan Jatia, has now come down heavily on the Sports Authority of India (SAI) for to know about the disparity in pay cheques as well as the sportspersons being treated as regular employees and assigning them routine administrative work.

The issue came up before the panel when they visited SAI Regional Centre in Bengaluru and interacted with sports officials and prominent sportspersons like Anju Bobby George and Ashwini Nachappa.

They were surprised to hear that coaches did not get leave for coaching assignments while sportspersons were not given promotions or Dearance Allowance (DA) for attending coaching camps.

Anju, the internationally known long jumper, even submitted a representation, which was extensively quoted by the panel in its report tabled in Parliament earlier this month.

“Many sports persons in various departments are struggling with sports training and regular duty. Most of them were having 12-14 hours work load and high stress and purpose of sports quota appointments is diluted,” the panel said. Even the Department of Personnel and Training has corroborated the fact that sportspersons are being made to do routine work.

On the coaching front, the panel said the SAI pays an Indian coach Rs 30,000 per month but foreign coaches and technical staff are offered contract between Rs 90,000 and Rs three lakh.

“There is a clear discrimination towards Indian coaches who have made world level achievements. The Indian coaches with better profile, records and commitment and integrity are sidelined due to vested interests or lack of interest,” the panel said.

The panel goes on to cite an interesting tale. Robert Bobby George, who coaches Anju, was offered a Rs 30,000 per month contract by SAI in 2009 before the Commonwealth Games “but at the same time, foreign coaches in athletics with inferior track record and results were paid Rs 3 to 6 lakh month”.

“This approach would definitely destroy the top most coaches of India,” the panel said cautioning that India cannot go on depending foreign coaches for ever.

(An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald on Aug 17, 2015)

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