Former Chief Selector of the national chess team and Grandmaster R.B. Ramesh on Saturday said the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports should carry out a survey among the top 50 Indian players while deciding on the Arjuna and Dronacharya awardees.
Ramesh hoped that the Sports Ministry will consider Non-Delhi centric chess players/coaches for the Arjuna and Dronacharya awards and that the cash incentive schemes for the support of sportsmen are not restricted to Delhi centric circles and distributed to players pan India.
The Arjuna and Dronacharya awards are given to outstanding sportspersons and coaches respectively.
In a series of tweets, Ramesh said: "Sports Ministry should circulate a questionnaire among top 50 Indian players and get direct information from them about who are deserving for Arjuna and Dronacharya awards and take them into consideration as well to undo injustice done in the past."
He said during the decade 2010-2020 there were 16 GMs from Tamil Nadu, but the number of Arjuna awardees was zero.
Ramesh had recently resigned as the Chief of the Selection Committee of the All India Chess Federation (AICF).
Pointing out that the last three Arjuna awardees in chess are Tania Sachdev (Delhi 2009), Parimarjan Negi (Delhi 2010) and Abhijeet Gupta (Rajasthan 2013) Ramesh said there were no Arjuna awardees since then even though India had produced many strong players.
"I hope Sports Ministry will consider Non-Delhi centric chess players/coaches as well for awards like Arjuna and Dronacharya. Hope various cash incentive schemes which support sportsmen are not restricted to Delhi centric circles & are distributed to players pan India," Ramesh, hailing from Chennai the cradle of Indian chess, said.
"Unless the Ministry of Sports starts listening to stakeholders who are working on the ground and making a real difference, instead of officials and bureaucrats who have their own axe to grind, nothing will change for the better or it will take too much time," he added.
As regards the central government awards for coaching the Indian team or players the less said the better as for the past 15 years he and most other Indian coaches have not received any award for winning medals or producing talent, Ramesh said.
Citing the low fee paid to the Indian chess team coach for the Olympiad, World Team Championship and other tournaments, Ramesh said most Indian coaches are not enthused to go with the national team as they can earn the coach fee within India privately.
"I was offered a lucrative deal to work with a few Canadian players for the World Youth Championship at Mumbai last year & refused it to be coach for the Indian team despite huge parity in fees where we won many medals. Should Indian coaches continue to take this approach in the future too?" he tweeted.
On the selection of the Indian chess team for the FIDE Online Chess Olympiad Ramesh said he had written to the sports ministry on July 5 which was not even acknowledged.
"Whatever achievement India has in most fields, is despite the system, not because of it. Wasted time drafting an email," he said.