NEW DELHI: In a landmark decision, the BCCI on Thursday announced equal match fees for its centrally-contracted female and male players in a bid to promote gender equality in the country's most popular sport.
BCCI secretary Jay Shah took to Twitter to announce the significant development.
"I'm pleased to announce @BCCI's first step towards tackling discrimination. We are implementing pay equity policy for our contracted @BCCIWomen cricketers.
"The match fee for both Men and Women Cricketers will be same as we move into a new era of gender equality in Cricket," Shah tweeted.
As per the newly introduced system, the Indian women's cricketers will now receive Rs 15 lakh per Test, Rs 6 lakh per ODI, and Rs 3 lakh per T20I, the same as their male counterparts.
"The @BCCIWomen cricketers will be paid the same match fee as their male counterparts. Test (INR 15 lakhs), ODI (INR 6 lakhs), T20I (INR 3 lakhs).
"Pay equity was my commitment to our women cricketers and I thank the Apex Council for their support," Shah added.
Earlier this year, New Zealand Cricket (NZC) had struck a deal with the country's players' association, which enabled the women cricketers to earn as much as the male players, while Cricket Australia (CA) is also working to do away with gender disparity.
On expected lines, the decision was welcomed by the cricket fraternity.
"It's a historic move. It's a new dawn for women's cricket. Things were already moving ahead. WIPL together with pay equity policy are steps to get women's cricket to where men's cricket is today," the legendary Mithali Raj told PTI when called for her reaction.
"As a member of the women's cricket fraternity, I thank the BCCI and honorary secretary, Jay Shah, for this announcement. We are already witnessing the growth and popularity of women's cricket from 2017 till now. It's a great move in the right direction."
This decision was taken at the BCCI Apex Council emergent meeting on Thursday.
Outgoing Apex Council member and former India player Shantha Rangaswamy, who attended the meeting, said, "This is a revolutionary decision by the BCCI. The decision shows that India treats its women equally and there is no gender discrimination. Would like to thank Jay Shah, Roger Binny and Rajeev Shukla for taking this momentous decision."
The current match fees gap between both female and male centrally-contracted cricketers in India is vast; where the male players receive Rs 7 crore, Rs 6 crore and Rs 3 crore in the aforementioned groups, the female players receive Rs 50 lakh, Rs 30 lakh and Rs 10 lakh each.
Former India player Harbhajan Singh also hailed the BCCI's decision to bring parity in the match fee.
"BCCI has set a standard for other sports bodies. It will encourage greater participation of women in the game. A historic milestone indeed!," the spin great wrote on Twitter.
Recently, the Indian women's cricket team triumphed in the Asia Cup in Bangladesh, beating Sri Lanka by eight wickets. The team also won the country's first-ever silver medal in cricket at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham earlier this year.
In the last Annual General Meeting (AGM) of BCCI, the cricket board also announced the first-ever women's IPL that is scheduled to take place next year.