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IT ministry appointed as nodal ministry for online gaming in India

New Delhi, December 27, 2022 

The Department of Sports under the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports has been notified as the nodal agency for e-sports

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has been appointed as the nodal ministry for online gaming in India. President of India Droupadi Murmu amended the Allocation of Business Rules to make the change. For e-sports, the Department of Sports, under the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (MYAS), has been notified as the nodal agency.

The Centre had been working on formulating rules for the sector for a while now. In May, a seven-member inter-ministerial task force was set up under the Minister of State for Information Technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar to select a nodal agency for the sector.

In a report released on Monday, the Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming and Comic (AVGC) Task Force said that the sector has the potential to raise India's soft power via inclusive growth. It recommended creating a dedicated production fund for domestic content creation from across India to promote Indian culture and heritage globally.

The move is expected to bring more clarity and uniformity to the sector.

"We welcome the appointment of MeitY as a nodal ministry for online gaming. A uniform central regulation for online skill gaming has been a long-standing demand of the industry and this step will hopefully lead to a progressive regulatory framework underpinned by consumer welfare. This will help further grow the industry and make online gaming a cornerstone of Digital India," said Roland Landers, CEO, of All India Gaming Federation.

"We also welcome the move to have MYAS regulate e-sports as part of multi-sports events. This will finally lead to the recognition of an India E-sports Federation, better rules and procedures for the selection of Indian teams for international events like the Asian Games and also lead to better opportunities and facilities for our esports players on par with other sportspersons," he added.

In an interview with Business Standard, Sameer Barde, chief executive officer of the E-gaming Federation (EGF) said that the industry was quite positive in terms of revenue growth "as long as there was no extreme regulatory action".

"If there is a stable regulatory environment, the industry will continue to grow at 35-38 per cent CAGR," he said.

"Appointment of a regulator for online gaming is indeed a welcome step. However, how the whole regulatory framework works will be interesting to watch as the complete framework details are still yet to be clarified by the government. Many reports suggest that the world is looking towards India for their creative online games requirements and thus, it has the potential to generate ample employment and entrepreneur opportunities for the youngsters in India. Accordingly, full fledged law covering all aspects of online gaming including cyber fraud, cyber terrorism, cyber crime, addition of gambling, taxation, labour law, etc in line with international laws should be introduced by the government at the earliest," said Geetanshu Bhalla, director at law firm The Virtual Compliance.

[The Business Standard]

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