Indian Gaming and Esports Policy Discussed in Parliament

Abhimannu Das
Published On: 07 Feb 2021, 01:00 PM
  • Minister of State For Youth Affairs and Sports, Kiren Rijiju, answered questions on esports and gaming in India.
  • The government talked about esports for the first time and acknowledged its legitimacy as a discipline in esports.
  • The government has not carried out any studies on the current esports market of India and its development lies in the hands of the State and UT governments.

On February 4th, in the questions session at the Lok Sabha, The Indian Minister of State For Youth Affairs and Sports, Kiren Rijiju, spoke about esports’ legitimacy within the country. He stated that esports is an emerging platform for the youth and there are a large number of esports enthusiasts in India. The minister also acknowledged that the government is aware of the differences between gaming and gambling and that there are no officially recognized institutions that have been established for esports.

Questions related to “Gaming and e-Sports Policy” presented at the Lok Sabha:

Jagdambika Pal, Member of Lok Sabha asked the following questions to the Minister of State of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (Kiren Rijiju) regarding “Gaming and e-Sports Policy” in India.

  1. whether the Government has any plan to introduce Gaming and e-Sports Policy in the country and if so, the details thereof
  2. 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
  3. whether the Government has any estimates on the size/value of the gaming industry in India and if so, the details thereof
  4. 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
  5. whether the Government has taken any steps or has any plan to introduce educational gaming and if so, the details thereof

Indian Minister of State For Youth Affairs and Sports' responses to these questions

Indian Parliament acknowledges esports

Kiren Rijiju recognized that esports was an emerging platform for the country’s youth population and that there were a large number of esports enthusiasts in the country. He also acknowledged that it was a medal sport discipline in the Asian Games 2022.

Indian Government acknowledges that Esports is Different from gaming or igaming and gambling, etc.

Perhaps the biggest win for esports in these responses is the fact that the government has recognized and acknowledged the differences between esports and gambling. The Indian Minister of State For Youth Affairs and Sports, Kiren Rijiju stated:

"e-Sports is different from gaming or igaming and gambling, etc. as former is skill based while latters are chance based."

There Are No Proposals To Bring Gaming To The Concurrent List Of The Constitution

Sports is currently a state subject and the development of esports rests in each respective State or Union Government’s hands. The government has not carried out any studies on the current esports market of India. However, the government is aware of the differences between gambling and gaming and does not intend to make gambling legal in India anytime soon. 

There have been recent incidents where gambling companies were marketing themselves as gaming companies and were taken down by the government and giving esports and gaming a bad name for those unaware of the differences between both industries.

ESFI is Not an Officially Recognized Esports Federation

The Minister is aware of multiple federations like Electronic Sports Federation of India (ESFI), E-sports Development Association of India (EDAI), and E-sports India (EI) but such organizations are not officially recognized. He revealed, “no Federations/Associations have been recognized by Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports.”

This Is A Big Win for Indian Esports

The Indian Minister of State For Youth Affairs and Sports acknowledging esports as belonging to the sports category is a big win for its legitimacy in the country. This is the first time that the government has talked about esports and our digital athletes might get more support from the government in the future. 

RELATED:  Top 10 Esports Players of 2020


Note: A previous version of the article indicated that esports had been recognized as a sporting discipline by the central govt. This was misleading and hence has been rephrased.


Abhimannu is a part of the content team at AFK Gaming and a lifelong obsessive gamer. He currently covers esports titles like VALORANT, CS: GO, Call of Duty, Fortnite, PUBG and more. He also writes opinion pieces, cover stories and conducts interviews with esports professionals.

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