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RTI: IT Ministry Has No Plans to Track Online Gambling-Related Suicides

The Ministry also informed us that mod creators in online games aren’t intermediaries under the IT Act, in response to RTIs we filed

Update on 24/3/2023 at 11:00 am: In a separate RTI reply, the National Crime Records Bureau added that it does not separately collect aggregated data on gambling-related suicides. Original story published on 10/3/2023 at 5:50 pm: "No. The Ministry of Electronics & IT, Govt. of India, does not maintain such data," said the IT Ministry when we asked, via an RTI, if the government separately tracks online gambling-related suicides outside of the National Crime Records Bureau's (NCRB) figures. "[It] has no plan to start separately tracking these suicides," either. What's the context? Given the IT Ministry's interest in protecting consumers from gaming harms—and bringing rules to regulate the sector—we wanted to know if it was taking stock of these deaths on its own count. For example, while responding to a parliamentary question on gambling-related suicides last month, the IT Ministry simply stated that the NCRB data indicates that seven cases were registered in India under the abetment of suicide sub-category of cybercrimes in 2019. 2020 and 2021 saw 10 such cases each. Why incomplete data matters: As we've reported, the NCRB numbers may not accurately reflect gambling-related suicides—and may unintentionally underreport the scale of the issue across the country. For example, the Tamil Nadu government banned online gambling last year, after the state reported at least 17 online gambling-related suicides over the last three years. On the other hand, the NCRB figures provided in the Ministry's response suggest that no cybercrime-related suicides took place in Tamil Nadu between 2019 and 2021.…

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