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Monitoring Committee advocates professional set up

  April 12 , 2019

The Karnataka High Court mandated Monitoring Committee appointed by the Government of Karnataka has recommended far-reaching reforms in the governance of racing. The Monitoring Committee has acknowledged the misgovernance by the elected committee members of the club and has said that there are serious doubts about the integrity of the administrators among the racing public and this needs to be addressed by having an exclusive professional setup to take charge of all matters pertaining to racing.

The report is being welcomed by the racing fraternity and the professionals who have been adversely affected by the whimsical and undemocratic decisions taken by the BTC Managing Committee which have often raised questions of propriety. The Monitoring Committee has made a reference to the controversial steward Mahendra Kuga Shankar who had to resign midway for suppression of information about the fact that he owned a horse and became a steward when he was ineligible under the Articles of the Association. The Monitoring Committee was headed by former Chief Secretary B K Das and it has submitted its report to I S N Prasad who is the Principal Secretary Finance and the Additional Chief Secretary. Prasad is also the licensing authority.

The report strongly recommends the formation of a regulatory body to address the immediate concerns of the racing fraternity after a consultatory process involving the stakeholders as well. The Committee has recommended `` to separate the regulatory and governance functions from the purely routine management functions of conducting the races. The regulatory functions of framing the Rules of Racing, its structure and enforcement, discipline and punishment, licensing of jockeys and trainers, granting of colours to the owners of horses, breeding and welfare of horses including the medication procedure and rules, the induction of trained personnel/professionals for the conduct of races such as the stipendiary stewards and the handicappers etc. and the setting up of various training academies for such professionals may be vested in a separate regulatory authority. The details of its structure, functions and mode of functioning would need to be worked out separately after wider consultations. These aspects perhaps would need to be dealt with at the level of the Government and the changes mandated by the government to ensure a proper reform structure of the needed effectiveness of government nominated stewards. ‘`

The report further says that ``The Board of Appeal may be made totally independent and autonomous. Their selection and appointment need to be totally independent of the Stewards. The current practice of the Board of Appeal being appointed by the Stewards needs a complete review. ‘` The present structure has severe limitations and it was the long-standing demand of the racing fraternity to have a separate Appeal Board with no link to the Managing Committee.

The Monitoring Committee says that its suggestions relate to the very core issues, impinging upon integrity and honourable practices. If agreed to in principle by the government, farther necessary and detailed structuring of these suggestions can be proceeded upon so that they may be appropriately included in the Rules of Racing.

I S N Prasad has forwarded the recommendations of the monitoring committee to the Chairman of BTC for necessary action. The Monitoring Committee has said given the limitation of time, the intended report comprising comprehensive reforms in racing governance and more particularly integrity in the conduct of thoroughbred racing had not been possible.

The Racing Monitoring Committee has said that it does not wish to submit any hastily drawn conclusions without due diligence of all facts and circumstances, based on a careful study and analysis of all aspects of racing governance and administration of the Bangalore Turf Club. The Racing Monitoring Committee has opined that the general race going public and the racing enthusiasts had a very poor perception of the integrity of horse racing in BTC and their faith and confidence in the racing being conducted honestly and fairly at the BTC was eroding fast. The credibility of the administration of horse racing at Bangalore had taken a severe knock in the last couple of years. As earlier stated, the trust and faith reposed by the punters upon the BTC is currently at its lowest ebb.

The Monitoring Committee has hit the nail on its head when it says that promoting honourable practices should be the prime concern. ``Racing scandals and dishonourable practices occur from time to time. The constant refrain of the racing going public is that races are fixed, and horses are doped. Malpractices in racing do occur. If it did not, we would have had no use for the Stewards and the Rules of Racing that is intended to ensure absolute integrity and honesty, as the stakes are very heavy involving large sums of money.

The BTC mandarins have been behaving like they are modern-day despots. The present managing committee which has taken many questionable decisions was also busy amending the Rules of Racing to act on anybody they disliked. They strongly believed that anybody criticising the managing committee should be dealt with. The Racing Monitoring Committee report has highlighted the fact that the all-important ingredient of integrity had taken a severe drubbing.

One hopes that the Monitoring Committee suggestions are acted upon. The present set of office-bearers especially Harimohan Naidu and Satish Chandra who have been in the committee for long and have developed a vested interest have outlived their utility. They should also be told to keep away from re-contesting once their present term ends as the report surely has damned their many actions because questions of integrity have been raised by the monitoring committee of the last several years. The Monitoring Committee has also said that the resignation of a steward in controversial circumstances further eroded the trust of the racing public.

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Total Comments : 7
Posted by chanakya kaushik on ( April 12 , 2019 )
can it be implemented?

wherefrom this govt. will find independent, knowledgeable administrators?
Posted by Jp on ( April 12 , 2019 )
The views are appreciated. The suggestion expressed by the committee is pratical for racing. Hope the club/government will take it positively for improved governance.
The racing is facing a downward trend, it may be due to infighting amoung the stake holders or ego problem.
If you take the latest prospectors meeting of the BTC, I came to know they have given ten points to outstation horses if they want to praticipate during summer. To me it looks like the club/stakeholders doesn`t want them to participate or because when Bangalore horses go to other center they also give ten points. "REMEMBER THE BANGALORE SUMMER SEASON IS THE PRIME SEASON OF INDIAN RACING CALENDAR". This is like tit for tate situation. WHY NOT INTRODUCE UNIFORM RATING OF HORSES ALL OVER INDIA, which may bring neutrality in handicaping. WHICH IS NEED OF THE HOUR.
The Sport should be run by professionals with independent charge all over India. There should be one body and all the club`s should be under them. THEY SHOULD FOLLOW ONE MAN ONE JOB POLICY. THEY SHOULD HAVE ONE APPEAL COMMITTEE WITH ONE/TWO REPRESENTING EACH CLUB. I feel this will improve the governance clubs.THIS IS MY VIEW.
Posted by Observer on ( April 12 , 2019 )
The Monitoring Committee had three club members (all who held high positions in the government) and former Commercial Tax Commission as the members of the special committee. The fact that they have highlighted the fact that the credibility of BTC is at an all-time low should be an eye-opener for members. They should not elect any person who has held the post for Steward for more than five years. Because the recent committees have been held responsible for the present scenario. As highlighted in the article, Harimohan Naidu and Satish Chandra who is almost a permanent presence in the committee should make for others once their terms get over. We have had enough of them.
Posted by Chandulal on ( April 13 , 2019 )
All the racing malpractices happen for only one The laxity shown by the turf authorities also can be squarely attributed to this factor. How does one in racing encase his plans, ....all roads lead to the door steps of the bookmakers . It’s these elements who should bear the brunt of the long arm of the law.
It’s this government appointed committee who can put in the proper bureaucratic representation to the GST counsel for reducing racing into the minimum tax bracket by giving written guarantee of huge tax flow owing to betting through totalizators because of single digit tax. Turf accountants licenses should be abolished pan India and huge penalties and imprisonments should await violators. Soon Indian racing will be at par with HK , Macau and Singapore.,
Posted by Murari Kaushik on ( April 13 , 2019 )
@Gupta, don`t take the Pseudonym too seriously. His comment was merely a job application.
I have always wondered why people stand for (any) Club Elections. It is nothing but a headache, there will always be people who are complainants, suspicions abound in third world (Sub-continent) and second world (Eastern Europe) mindsets against people in authority, and punters losing their shirts will always look for others to blame and hold in `low ebb` esteem. Personally, I would enjoy the Biriyani and Drinks and enjoy the Racing.
Posted by Gupta on ( April 12 , 2019 )
Chanakya, the present system has many pitfalls. We can get the better ones from the setup once the professional politician type committee members are shown the door. We have no other go than to look for efficient from among the limited choice. The beginning has to be made and not waste time on whether it is implementable or not. Nothing is impossible if there is a will.
Posted by SRINIVASA Gowda on ( April 15 , 2019 )
I didn`t realise that the monitoring committee still was in existence and functional. Surprisingly some of the suggestions made by these non racing members appear sensible and the need of the hour. But very little can be done by BTC alone, because of lack of qualified personnel here and more importantly in the absence of a national tote and a managing committee with sincere racing knowledge.
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