The Haryana government is facing criticism over its order, demanding athletes employed by the state government to deposit 33 percent of their earning from professional leagues and endorsements to the State Sports Council.
The state plans to use the money collected from athletes for the development of sports and budding talent in Haryana, a government notification dated April 30, 2018, undersigned by Ashok Khemka, Principal Secretary, Sports and Youth Affairs Department, reads.
The notification said: "The sportsperson shall be accorded extraordinary leave (without pay) during the said period. One-third of the income earned by the sportsperson from professional sports or commercial endorsements will be deposited with the Haryana State Sports Council. The money shall be used for the development of sports in the State.
It added: "In case the sportsperson is treated on duty with the prior approval of the competent authority while taking part in professional sports or commercial endorsements, the full income earned by the sportsperson on this account will be deposited with the Haryana State Sports Council."
Sushil, Yogeshwar, Babita lead opposition to government's decision
Several international medalists, including wrestlers Yogeshwar Dutt, Sushil Kumar, Babita Phogat, have slammed the government's decision.
Dutt came up with sharp criticism in a tweet on Thursday. The London Olympic bronze medalist even said that athletes will be forced to represent other states and added that the government officials will be blamed for the same.
"God save us from such officials, who are taking senseless decisions like this. Their contribution to the development of sports in Haryana has been zero but I am sure, they will play a big role in the decline of sports in the state," Dutt wrote on Twitter.
Kumar, the two-time Olympic medalist, requested the government to rethink the policy and rued the government's failure to not having consulted senior sportspersons before arriving at the decision.
'Khattar government has the weirdest ideas'
Twitter users also joined the bandwagon, fiercely criticising the Manohar Lal Khattar government for the aforesaid decision. One of them even opined that the government is willing to spend "millions" on "hostel for cows" but not for sports stars.
Notably, the Haryana government in March had announced PG accommodation for cattle, aimed at encouraging people in cities to leave their cows and buffaloes under expert care. As part of the project, 50-100 acres of land was set to be earmarked in major towns for the hostels, according to Business Standard.
"Khattar Govt has the most weirdest ideas. They had millions to spend on hostel for cows (not hospital, hostel) and cow therapy for prisoners to get positive energy. But for sports, the govt is asking sports stars to contribute 33% of their total earnings! (sic)," Ravi Nair, a Twitter user, wrote.
Abhigyan Prakash, a blogger, tweeted: "Haryana Govt you want champion athletes to giveback one third of their income. Pathetic. Why don't you get income back from politicians and builders who made large sums of money in land deals. Why target athletes (sic)."
Meanwhile, Khemka, the aforementioned official of the Sports and Youth Affairs Department, defended the government's decision, saying they are not concerned about the money earned from amateur sports but only but the revenue from professional sport and promotional activities.
"No one is questioning the income derived from amateur sports. This is in the interest of the players. Because of their visibility, they are allowed to command their own fee," Khemka said, as quoted by NDTV.