Everyone sits up and notices when a minister disagrees with another. That's what happened in parliament yesterday during question hour, when veteran Congress minister Manish Tewari probed IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on whether the government has the jurisdiction to regulate online gaming or not. The IT Minister was clear that the government had powers to regulate the sector. What's more, he reiterated the government's intent to build consensus with states—and eventually bring a pan-Indian law to regulate online gaming. "Unfortunately, in the digital world, there is no meaning to state boundaries," noted Vaishnaw yesterday. Why does this exchange matter?: The IT Ministry released draft rules to regulate online gaming last month. Remember: online gaming (or games of skill) is supposed to be distinct from online gambling (or games of chance). That distinction matters because gambling is a state subject. So, in an ideal scenario, the Indian government's rules regulating 'online gaming' shouldn't encroach on state regulatory powers. But, there is no clear legal consensus on what 'gaming' and 'gambling games' actually are. This makes it difficult to figure out where state powers to regulate online gambling end, and where the Indian government's powers to regulate online gaming begin. That's precisely why some people are unhappy with the IT Ministry's rules—they may inevitably eat up state powers. And that's the exact point Tewari was raising in parliament yesterday. What did Tewari ask?: "If proscribing [or forbidding] online gaming is the responsibility of state governments, which [is something] even the Law Commission…
“Mr. Minister, That is Chicanery!”: Manish Tewari Questions Govt’s Powers to Regulate Online Gaming
Aside from dropping heavy words, the question was whether the Indian govt can regulate online gaming given that gambling has been demarcated as a state subject
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