The Haryana government on Friday directed sportspersons employed with it to deposit one-third of their earnings from commercial and professional commitments to the state's sports council, but withdrew the decision in a couple of hours following sharp criticism from athletes.
"One-third of the income earned by the sportsperson from professional sports or commercial endorsements will be deposited with the Haryana State Sports Council," said a notification issued by Principal Secretary (Sports and Youth Department), Ashok Khemka. By evening, though, the administration suspended the order which cited that the deposited money shall be used for the development of sports in the state.
The athletes employed with the state government include star boxers Vijender Singh and Akhil Kumar, both of whom are DSPs in state police, hockey captain Sardar Singh and wrestlers Geeta and Babita Phogat. Sardar, Geeta and Babita are also employed with the Haryana Police.
Of them, Babita, who won a silver at the Gold Coast CWG, was the first one to react to the move, calling it disheartening.
"I am saddened by notification. It seems as if illiterate people are making policies. Do they not know that we're already paying taxes on money we win in competitions. If this is how things are going to work the medal count will go down," ANI quoted Babita Phogat as saying.
She further added: "This notification will hamper an athlete's preparation. How can the government give such an order? We pay taxes over whatever we earn and now this notification to pay one-third."
The Haryana government had courted controversy earlier in April as well over a proposed cut in prize money for the Commonwealth Games medal winners from the state who were employed with other departments or states units like the Railways and Services.
"Everyone is aware that Haryana gives highest award money. What we had said is that we will deduct the prize money that they get from their employer, in case of any, from the total reward money," Haryana sports minister Anil Vij had said back then.
(With Agency Inputs)