New Delhi, August 3
The Rajya Sabha on Wednesday passed the National Anti-Doping Bill, 2021 unanimously by a voice vote.
Opposition parties also took part in the discussion on the bill which seeks to provide a statutory framework for the functioning of the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) and the National Dope Testing Laboratory in sports. The Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha on July 27.
Replying to the debate on the bill, Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Anurag Thakur said India will now join the league of nations like the US, China, France or Australia, Japan, S Korea to have a law and dope test laboratory.
The bill provides for planning, implementing, and monitoring anti-doping activities as well as investigating anti-doping rule violations.
It also seeks to give effect to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation International Convention against doping in sports and compliance with such other obligations and commitments. The legislation prohibits athletes, athlete support personnel, and other persons from engaging in doping in sports.
The 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.
The Bill proposes to establish the National Board for Anti-Doping in Sports with a view to make recommendations to the government on anti-doping regulations and compliance with international commitments on anti-doping. The board will oversee the activities of NADA and issue directions to it.
Participating in the discussion, Biju Janata Dal’s Amar Patnaik said many Indian athletes take Ayurvedic and homoeopathic medicines without knowing they might include banned substances.
“Our realities are different and that has to be factored into this Bill,” Patnaik said.
In her maiden speech, nominated Rajya Sabha member PT Usha said a high number of doping cases in India is a serious concern and this needs to be addressed.
“We are yet to open our eyes to doping abuse in our country. What was once confined only to the senior national levels has now reached junior, college, and school levels too,” she said.
CPI (M) MP John Brittas said budgetary allocation for sports should be increased.
“You should be using your political clout to increase the budgetary allocation to sports in India,” he said, addressing Thakur.
He also suggested that the ministry should consult PT Usha to understand the resources required by sportspersons.