Sundeep Bhutoria

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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Commonwealth Games 2010 - a balanced view

The Commonwealth Games 2010 has received many brickbats from all corners of the globe. I think the positive aspects of the Games were largely eclipsed by the predominantly negative reports in the media. I don’t want to sound like the devil’s advocate when I say that we must have a balanced view to the whole affair that was keenly watched by the world as it unfolded.
The allegation of corruption around the Games is only a reflection of our system in action. The fact is that the level of corruption has actually come down since the past decade according to the Corruption Perception Index of Transparency International. India had scored an index of 2.7 in 2001 which improved to 3.4 in 2009.
The barrage of media reports and bad press at home during the run up to the inaugural function of the Games and unwarranted and immature reactions from some of the officials made us the butt of jokes and highlighted our shortcomings to a global audience like never before. But the spectacular inaugural function, which even the foreign media lauded, did much to cover the lost ground and salvage the damage done to the image of a resurgent India.
I think the XIX Commonwealth Games 2010 laid bare two facts about India.
First, a system beset with corruption. Second, if it comes to, India can put its act together and deliver.
Mr Suresh Kalmadi had said that, “We will speak again after the Games are over,” meaning that he would stand by any post mortem. Just as one swallow does not make a summer, one botch-up does not mean the end of the road for India. India did finally put its act together in the last few weeks and delivered one of the most successful sporting events and the highest medals haul in sporting history.
I do not agree with the argument that the gargantuan budget (cost overruns) went down the drain. The National Capital Region has moved up a notch higher as far as creation of new infrastructure is concerned. India is an emerging economic powerhouse in the global arena. I think the upkeep of the capital city of such a resurgent nation should reflect the new global aspirations that we seek to achieve. Thanks to the Commonwealth Games 2010, it did that for Delhi.
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