Friday, May 6, 2011

Do Cricketers and Board deserve those huge prizes and tax cuts ?? Act in National interest

There are few things which are always intertwined – to that list one can safely add ‘Cricket and money’.  Some time back there were allegations of R68 million missing in Cricket SA.  The way IPL shot into fame and the financial repercussions made big news leading to the ouster of Lalit Mody who was behind the monstruous making of IPL.  This is something different that way.

After that brilliant performance in Cricket World Cup 2011 – the team deserves all accolades, love and affection and perhaps rest.  The leisure was denied by the IPL that followed immediately.  The winning did create wild enthusiasm and expected money started flowing into the coffers.

For the Nation, the Union Budget of India is the most looked after one.  It actually is the annual financial statement as specified in Article 112 of the Constitution of India, presented each year on the last working day of February by Finance Minister in Parliament.  Budget is Estimate of inflows and outflows of the Government during a year.  It consists of Actual figures for preceding years, Budget and revised figures for the current year, Budget estimates for the following years.  One part would cover the broad outlays of money for different sector and the other part of  the taxation proposals – i.e., creating the money that is required for implementing the approved projects.  State Govts also have similar budgets and financial statements for their outlay and expenditure.  For implementing anything, one needs money  !!

Quite often, one would hear of a project not being undertaken either as not budgeted / not allocated.  Sometimes the projects in the same category undertaken earlier would consume the entire budgeted money and the other project though of utmost importance and necessity would not be undertaken for paucity of funds.  Thus even for the dire needs of the common man, the allocation is of utmost significance.  Quite often Govt.  schemes are not implemented citing lack of funds as reason.  There have been bridges which remain half constructed awaiting funds, welfare schemes stopped midway for want of funds.  If bus service to an interior rural region is sought, the Govt. would come up with an answer that transportation in that sector is not profitable. Is not providing basic needs including medical treatment – the very basic measure of a Government ??  -  the rules think and act the other way. 

The Indian cricket team deserves all the accolades, the love and affection, the wild enthusiasm and all the money it made for winning the World Cup for the country. This was a historic and well-deserved victory for, clearly, one of the world's best cricket teams.  The dancing and revelry across the country showed that the entire nation rejoiced together and felt a shared sense of pride in this great victory.   Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his team played brilliantly in the finals and Dhoni has shown exemplary maturity in the style of his captaincy.

Big Corporates and Industrial Houses are rewarding the players – no body needs to question them.  It is their money and they know and can decide which side the water should travel…..  There has always been complaint that when it comes to Sports, only Cricket is nourished and other games are neglected.  There are tales of woes of athletes not getting any encouragement from the Govt – not sponsorship but even support for the basic infrastructure needed for training.  When IPL is ruling the roost, do you remember the sad plight of Hockey league which ran into financial troubles and eventually wounded up

But on the other side, the Governments (mostly State Govts) went overboard and announced grand doles to Cricketers.  TN Govt jumped the bandwagon and announced 3 crores to Team India.  Yesterday, the CM M Karunanidhi handed over cheques for Rs 21,42,857 each to team skipper MS Dhoni and his team colleague Suresh Raina as their respective share.The rest of the amount meant for the other team members was handed over to BCCI honorary secretary N Srinivasan at the new secretariat complex.  In addition,Indian winning team member and Tamil Nadu player R Ashwin also received special cash award of Re one crore from the chief minister.  Karunanidhi,who is a cricket fan, watched a couple of IPL matches held in Chennai recently.
Earlier, the Punjab government’s announced  award of  Rs one crore each to residents of the state Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan Singh for being part of the Indian cricket team that won the World Cup 2011.  Gujarat Govt also announced awards and recognition. 

In a Nation, where poor does not have basic essentials of quality medical treatment; where there are no proper roads in many segments ; where there are no bridges and people have to walk many a kilo meters to reach Hospitals, Schools and other needs; where poor do not have access to potable water; where people are starved of electricity ; where prices of essential commodities keep on increasing; where the prices of petrol, diesel and cooking gas are revised upwards so many times in a year -  can public money be squandered just because the Men in Power like something.

Democracy obviously is not kingdom and the Rulers are not Kings.  The money at their disposal is only public money – the money that comes from taxation [another story that some pay heavily and some evade tax and hoard their money in tax havens].  

I love cricket, I follow cricket madly and would watch the game at all level – but even to a die hard fan like me – this wrong trend needs to be reversed.  Cricketers can be Sporting heroes but they are not National Leaders.  They need not be showered with money and associations certainly do not deserve any tax exemption or partial treatment, as if oft given.  The Govt. should be made accountable for their unwise spending of tax-payer’s money.  Cricket after all is a game played amongst twelve nations – we do not provide infrastructure to other athletes and the cupboard is empty  in Olympics and Asiads.   Even if one were to encourage only cricket, the money be better spent on creation of better infrastructure.

The Govt. does not have enough money to eliminate terrorist activities and is not paying enough for the Army, Navy and Airforce jawans and other martyrs.    Lines need to be drawn clearly -   tax breaks and cash awards from the government are an unnecessary indulgence.

Always put the Nation and the needs of the People before anything else.

Regards – S. Sampathkumar.

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