A parliamentary panel has endorsed a proposed law seeking to provide a statutory framework to the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) to tackle drug abuse in Indian sports, and recommended measures to strengthen the anti-doping ecosystem.
Union minister Anurag Thakur introduced the National Anti-Doping Bill in Lok Sabha on December 17. It was referred to ruling Bharatiya Janata Party lawmaker Vinay P Sahasrabuddhe-led Parliamentary Standing Committee on Education, Women, Children, Youth, and Sports days later for scrutiny.
The committee submitted its report to Rajya Sabha on Wednesday endorsing the proposed law in its present form. “The suggestions/recommendations given by the Committee may however be taken into account at appropriate stages,” the report said.
The bill seeks to give NADA powers of “investigation, levying sanctions for Anti-Doping Rule Violations, the disciplinary procedures to be adopted and the powers of inspection, sample collection and sharing and free flow of information.” It also proposes to provide NADA the power of “entry, search and seizure by any person authorised by the agency for the purpose of determining if any anti-doping rule violation has been committed”. As of now, NADA has no authority to conduct raids.
The panel has suggested safeguards to protect the rights of athletes and to address the issues of privacy in the procedure related to entry, search, and seizure and for any action in accordance with the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. It has recommended strengthening the anti-doping system, early detection mechanism for doping at all camps organised for the training of athletes.
The panel has sought mandatory provision for at least one certified sports medicine doctor to advise and treat the athletes at sports camps. It has called for declaring the training camps as “No-Syringe zones”. The panel has also suggested a mechanism for legal aid to athletes and motivating them to focus on training, natural diet, and proper recovery rather than resorting to any unethical means to improve performance.
The committee suggested a study to evaluate if any ingredients used in the Indian diet contain any World Anti-Doping Agency prohibited substances so that they can be brought to its notice for remedial exemptions. It has asked the government to provide relief to athletes, who have served their penalty and have been selected to participate in national/international events and excelled therein.
The panel has called for awareness, education, and information for athletes, coaches, support personnel, medical practitioners, etc to check and eliminate the menace of doping in sports. It has recommended setting up a dedicated institute to undertake research and awareness initiatives. The panel has called for educational content, courses, and the promotion of the vision outlined in the bill for anti-doping measures.