We are seized of the matter and BCCI officials will be coming in for a meeting with me next week, he told FE. Ordinarily, excise duty exemptions on sports equipment is given to federations registered with the National Sports Federation (NSF). But BCCI has gone to court over whether it is an autonomous body or one that has to function under NSF.
The minister, however, maintained that he was prepared to take a very lenient view on the matter because BCCI has been a very generous donor to our National Sports Development Fund.
In fact, the fund stands at a mere Rs 70.8 crore, with BCCI's contribution alone being Rs 50 crore, he said. It is also up to BCCI to have clarity of its own on whether or not it is under the government or considers itself independent, he added.
Makens stand will come as a relief to BCCI, which will have to import equipment worth crores for the upcoming World Cup in February.
On January 17, the government had withdrawn customs duty exemption on import of goods by BCCI or bodies certified by it following non-compliance of mandatory requirements. This followed the de-recognising of BCCI by the sports ministry as a national sports federation or the apex body for cricket in India. With the upcoming cricket World Cup, the cricket board will have to pay around 27% in duty on all important equipment required for staging World Cup matches. Last year, the government had indicated that BCCI may not be allowed to use the word India in its communication as it had not adhered to the guidelines meant for all national sports federations.
Maken said he would also form an opinion on whether politicians should be heading sports bodies and a limited-age tenure for them if they do. My predecessor MS Gill has set out some good guidelines. I am yet to go through it all, I will be forming an opinion on the matter soon, he said.