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Govt changed rules for Sachin despite MHA babus’ resistance

The Central government has conferred the highest civilian award to the god of cricket after amending the rules for the coveted award, which was earlier given only for exceptional service in the field of art, literature and science.

An RTI reply to activist SC Agrawal has revealed that when the issue of inclusion of sportsperson for the award was pushed by the then sports minister Ajay Maken, there were a huge opposition in the ministry of home affairs (MHA) over the entry of sports category for the award.

The MHA officers had said that ‘inclusion of sports as a field for Bharat Ratna may raise the issue to include other fields such as trade and industry, social work, etc. They feared in their notes that Tendulkar no doubt deserves the highest award of the country but there are several other sportsperson also who made the country feel proud such as Major Dhyan Chand in hockey, Jaspal Rana in shooting, Vishwanathan Anand in chess, PT Usha in athletics and many more.

‘On the ground of above mentioned lines it may be suggested to Maken to non-inclusion of sports as a field of Bharat Ratna,’ the MHA note had said.

They had said that sportspersons have been honoured with the highest Padma award Padma Vibhushan and are also honoured with the prestigious Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award and hence there is ample number of awards to recognise the highest contributions made by any sportsperson to the country, the RTI note read.

They had also said that no changes in Bharat Ratna awards have been made so far ever since the notification issued in 1954 and even the high level review committee under the chairmanship of the vice- president of India, constituted in pursuance of judgement of the Supreme Court in the case relating to the constitutional validity of Padma awards, to go into the guidelines for Padma Awards and certain other aspects in 1996, felt no reason to change the criteria for Bharat Ratna. He would be conferred on on 26 January 2014.
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