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Maken lauds Govt. move to modify eligibility criteria for Bharat Ratna

December 16, 2011 - New Delhi

Lauding the government's decision to make amendments in the eligibility criteria for Bharat Ratna, the country's highest civilian award, Sports Minister Ajay Maken on Friday said that it would provide a impetus to sports in the country.

"On November 16th, the government has notified that for performance of highest order in any field of human endeavour Bharat Ratna could be awarded and this has opened the way, paved the way for any sportsperson to get Bharat Ratna award," said Maken.

"And as the Sports Minister, I think this is one of the biggest day for Indian sports and the next big day I think will be the day when any sportsperson is named as an awardee of Bharat Ratna," he added.

Meanwhile, Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) Vice President and MP Rajiv Shukla also appreciated the government's move and urged Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh to consider his appeal to honour Tendulkar with the country's highest civilian award.

"I think it's a good move by the government, they have enlarged the scope of the Bharat Ratna. It's a good move by the government. I appreciate it and I congratulate the government for that. And my views as the cricket administrator, I have been demanding for almost two years that Sachin Tendulkar should be bestowed with the Bharat Ratna because he the most deserving person," said Shukla.

"And this award is mend for those people who have made outstanding contribution internationally and Sachin Tendulkar is one person whose records can never be broken by anyone, as I assume. So, I think he is the fittest person to be given Bharat Ratna and I would humbly request the Prime Minister and the government to consider bestowing Bharat Ratna to Sachin Tendulkar," he added.

The Bharat Ratna can now be awarded in recognition of exceptional service and performance of the highest order 'in any field of human endeavour'.

It was earlier restricted to areas like art, literature, science and public service, making it difficult for government to consider names of those, who contributed immensely to other fields, including sports.

Tendulkar, 38, has compiled an extraordinary 99 international tons, 51 in Tests, 48 in one-day matches, and his quest for three figures has become a national obsession in India since his last ton in March.


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