Gaming and Esports Policy discussed in Indian Parliament
In the questions session at the Lok Sabha on February 4, Indian Minister of State For Youth Affairs and Sports, Kiren Rijiju, talked about legitimacy of esports in India. He acknowledged the presence and magnitude of esports in the country and stated that esports is an emerging platform for the youth and there are a large number of esports enthusiasts in India.
Questions and Answers about Esports in India
Following questions were raised at the questions session in the Lok Sabha-
Whether the Government has any plan to introduce Gaming and e-Sports Policy in the country and if so, the details thereof.
The Government has acknowledged esports in the country saying esports is an emerging platform for the youth population in the country. There are large numbers of esports enthusiasts and It is included in Asian Games 2022 as a medal sports discipline but not yet included in the Olympics.
Whether the Government has any plans to bring the sports and gaming in the Concurrent List of the Constitution and if so, the details thereof.
Esports is different from gaming or igaming and gambling, etc. as former is skill based while latter are chance based. In India, there are some Federations such as Electronic Sports Federation of India (ESFI), esports Development Association of India (EDAI) and Esports India (EI), which have emerged for promotion of e-Sports. Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports of India has not recognized any such Federations/Associations.
Whether the Government has any estimates on the size/value of the gaming industry in India and if so, the details thereof.
The primary responsibility for development and promotion of sports rests with the respective State/UT Government as “Sports” is a State subject. The Department of Sports supplements efforts of the State/UT Government through its various schemes. Presently, there is no proposal under consideration to bring sports and gaming to concurrent list.
Whether the Government has any plans or taken any steps to regulate/curb illegal gaming, betting, and gambling in India, if so, the details thereof and if not, the reasons therefor.
Like sports, betting and gambling is also a State Subject and respective authorities are responsible for regulating/curbing illegal gaming, betting and gambling in their States. On July 5, 2018, The Law Commission submitted a report to the Government which stated that legalizing betting and gambling is not desirable in India.
Whether the Government has taken any steps or has any plan to introduce educational gaming and if so, the details thereof.
Government has not carried out any study regarding the estimated value/size of gaming Industry in India.
This is a huge win for everyone involved in the Esports ecosystem of the country including professional athletes, fans, and management.
In the future, government can extended a helping hand towards organizations to elevate the esports scene in the country even further. The government also understands the difference between gaming and gambling and strict rules could be formed to curb these malpractices.