Tribune News Service
New Delhi, February 15
Is there a move afoot to change the name of the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna awards scheme? It appears so. On Thursday the Sports Ministry constituted a six-member committee to review the Sports Awards Scheme and Special (cash) Awards scheme. The committee, headed by Justice (Retd) Indermeet Kaur Kochhar, includes Olympians Shiva Keshavan and Ashwini Nachappa, Rajesh Kalra (director/deputy secretary of Ministry, in charge of sports awards), and Mohandas Pai.
The terms of reference of the committee, and the inclusion of Pai as the sixth member, raise the possibility of a name change. Pai, a former director of Infosys, is known to have strong views when it comes to the opposition parties, especially Congress Party. The terms of reference of the committee include the “change of names of the schemes, if needed”.
The terms of reference include increase or decrease in the amount of award money; number of awards per year; review eligibility and marks criteria; and lastly the inclusion of new international sports events, if any, for the cash award scheme.
The awards schemes that will be reviewed by the committee include the Arjuna Awards, Dronacharya Awards, Dhyan Chand Awards, Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puruskar and Maulana Abdul Kala Azad Trophy. “The committee will submit its report within ten days from the issue of the order notifying the constitution of the committee,” reads an order dated February 14, 2019 by under-secretary AK Vidyarthi.
If there is indeed a name change, it won’t be the first instance when the current government has removed the name of Rajiv Gandhi from one of its schemes. In 2016, the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Abhiyan scheme was rechristened Khelo India. The Rajiv Gandhi Khel Abhiyan scheme itself was a rechristened scheme — the previous UPA government had renamed the Panchayat Yuva Krida Aur Khel Abhiyan after the former prime minister.
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