State governments to oversee law for online games in their jurisdictions

The Central government will define the overarching regulations for online gaming in India but the state governments will oversee law and order situations within their jurisdictions, a report by the Economic Times (ET) said.

The regulations will be “light-touch” for gaming intermediaries. They will be reportedly asked to appoint grievance redressal executives and nodal contract executives. The report added that the rules will be introduced by mid-January and public consultations will be invited.

“The industry is still in its infancy. Rules must be made in a way that compliance burden is as less as possible on smaller players and newer entrants…There are only some aspects — such as legality of content, service and excessive violence in games — which will be carefully monitored,” an official told ET.

The Centre may also ask the states to not ban the games outright but “penalise them” in case of serious offences. The companies will be asked to maintain proper Know-your customer (KYC) norms. For in-game add-ons, the companies will also be asked to deploy additional methods of scrutiny.

On Monday, the IT ministry was appointed as the nodal ministry for regulating online gaming in India. The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports was made the nodal agency for regulating eSports.

In a tweet, It minister of state Rajeev Chandrasekhar said that the government is “committed to fully encouraging technology innovation — but also to ensure that no illegal content or services are possible”.

Earlier in December, Chandrasekhar had told Parliament that the government was aware of the possible risk and challenges of online gaming, including the risk of “violence abetting video games, addiction to it, and consequential financial loss.”

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