Lok Sabha passes Bill to set-up sports varsity in Manipur

• A Bill to establish a National Sports University in Manipur to promote sports education was passed by the Lok Sabha on Friday, as several members sought the inclusion of sports as part of a comprehensive education curriculum.

• The National Sports University Bill, 2018, which seeks to replace an ordinance promulgated on May 31, was passed by a voice vote.

• During the debate on the Bill, which was introduced on Wednesday, N. K. Premchandran asked what was the need for bringing an Ordinance. He said a university has to be autonomous in character but the provisions of the Bill defy this.

• He also noted that the central government had the full authority and control over the institution which, therefore, will not be autonomous.

• Replying to the debate, Sports Minister Rajavardhan Singh Rathore said the university would be set up in Manipur at a cost of Rs 524 crore to promote sports coaching and research.

• The legislation was earlier introduced in the Lok Sabha in August 2017, but could not be passed. Hence, the government had to come out with an ordinance, the Minister said.

• A sportsperson will be the university vice-chancellor, while its academic council will also comprise sports personalities.

• The Bill seeks to set up a specialized university in Manipur, which would be the first of its kind, to promote sports education in the areas of sports sciences, sports technology, sports management and sports coaching.

• Besides, the proposed university would also function as the national training centre for select sports disciplines by adopting best international practices.

• Among other things, the legislation proposes to empower the university to establish ‘Outlying Campuses’ throughout the country and also outside India.

• Apart from academic programmes and research, the University and its outlying campuses’ will also impart training to elite athletes, sports officials, referees, and umpires and evolve as centres of excellence in the various discipline of sports.

• In order to make the university a world-class institution, the government has signed an agreement with two Australian universities – University of Canberra and Victoria University – for development of curriculum, research facilities and facilities, among others.