Indian Parliament discusses Esports Policy, Gaming in the Country

8 Feb, 2021 Business News 485 0 Comment
Indian Parliament discusses Esports

The Indian parliament recently discussed Esports in India, stating future actions against gambling & illegal gaming, mentioning that no Esports body or federation has been granted government affiliation

Esports is one of the fastest growing segments in the Indian sports scenario. This became evident when The Indian Minister of State (MoS) for Youth Affairs and Sports, Kiren Rijiju, took up the topic for the first time in the Lok Sabha and answered questions related to ‘Gaming and Esports Policy’ in India.

MoS acknowledges rise of Esports in India

The topic of Esports in India was addressed during the questions session in the Parliament on February 4th, when Member of Parliament, Jagdambika Pal asked the MoS about India’s gaming & Esports policy.

There were a total of five questions asked in context of Esports and its ecosystem in India. Fans of Esports across the country can surely expect some clarity regarding this segment after this parliament session.

Plans to bring gaming and Esports Policy in India

The MoS mentioned that Esports is an emerging platform for the youth population in the country. There are large numbers of Esports enthusiasts in the country. It is included in Asian Games 2022 as a medal sports discipline but not yet included in the Olympics.

While this statement highlighted the importance of Esports in India, it did not quite clarify whether the government plans to implement policies specific to Esports in the coming days. But since the topic has found mention in the Lok Sabha, we can expect future sessions to provide the required information.

Government’s plans to bring Esports in the Constitution’s Concurrent List

Esports is different from gaming or gambling, said the minister. He added that the former is skill based while the latter is chance based.

In India, there are some Federations such as Electronic Sports Federation of India (ESFI), E-sports Development Association of India (EDAI) and E-sports India (EI), which have emerged for promotion of Esports.

However, while stating the above, he added an important bit that currently, no Federations or Associations have been recognized by the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports. None of the existing Esport bodies have any government affiliation.

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This announcement is sure to be a setback for the above mentioned Esports entities, as they have often taken upon themselves the responsibility to authorize players for global Esports events and tournaments. Gamers will now be more informed about the scope and ambit of such bodies.

Government estimates on the size/value of the Indian gaming industry

While the union department of sports supplements States & UTs via various schemes, ‘Sports’ is a State topic and the primary responsibility of promoting, nourishing and developing sports rests with individual states or UTs.

Also, there is no proposal under consideration to bring sports and gaming to concurrent list as of now, clarified the MoS.

Steps to regulate illegal gaming, betting and gambling in Esports

Similar to sports as an entity, betting and gambling is also a State Subject (Entry at serial number 34 in the List II– State List of Seventh Schedule of the Constitution of India), stated the minister. The State authorities therefore, are responsible to regulate/curb illegal gaming, betting and gambling in their respective States.

The Law Commission in its Report No. 276 titled “Legal Framework: Gambling and Sports Betting including Cricket in India” submitted to the Government on July 5th, 2018, stated that legalizing betting and gambling is not desirable in India in the present scenario.

The above statement clarifies that while there is no intention of the government to formulate an Esports policy in India, whenever such an announcement comes, it will be under the strict purview of the legal framework.

Government’s initiatives towards educational gaming

Considering the massive size of Esports in the country, coupled with its steadily rising popularity graph, the government does not have any such plans in place.

The discussion of Esports by an MoS in the Parliament is certainly a step in the right direction for the Indian Esports fraternity, which found support in policy makers.

The recent banning of PUBG might also have triggered the topic of Esports among parliamentarians. Whether the game returns any time soon is suspect, but the Esports ecosystem can surely look towards good times ahead.

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Anwesh Koley

POSTS BY Anwesh Koley

Anwesh has been a journalist for more than a decade and has worked across myriad sectors ranging from automotive, power, energy, finance, and SMEs. He is currently responsible for churning out relevant and exciting content for Ultimate Battle News.

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