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The Tamil Nadu government played to the gallery, when in November 2020, in the backdrop of the Assembly elections, it decided to pass an ordinance banning online games.
In a single stroke of the pen, the ordinance banned all online games, even saying that "games of mere skill, if played for wager, bet, money or other stake" cannot be allowed in the state. Three billion people play online games across the world -- this is about 40 per cent of the world population. They play all types of games -- racing, sports, action, puzzle, quiz, chess to card games. It is not possible to club lakhs of games that exist in the world under one category.
Of the three billion people who play online games, there is a good percentage of people who pay entry fees to participate in online skill tournaments or enter tournaments to earn prizes, and these were the people being deprived by the Tamil Nadu law.
Tamil Nadu ordinance was excessive and disproportionate to the object sought to be achieved. It also held the law as violative of Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution. unsplashunsplash
The Madras High Court in its recent judgement rightfully held that the Tamil Nadu ordinance was excessive and disproportionate to the object sought to be achieved. It also held the law as violative of Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution, which guarantees all citizens the right to practice any profession or carry on any occupation, trade or business.
The Madras High Court thus upheld what the Supreme Court and several high courts have affirmed in numerous judgments that games of skill, whether online or offline, is a perfectly legitimate activity.
Let's examine the rationale put behind by the Tamil Nadu government and also by the critics of online gaming. Some say in online games, players end up spending a lot of money for buy-in and add-ons. Sure, compulsive shoppers end up overspending on Amazon and Flipkart, but that should not be a reason for banning
Many responsible gaming apps have best practices that limit the amount of money one can use to play these games. Also, there are regular notifications to warn players if they are spending too much money. Regulation can be introduced to ensure all gaming apps follow this rule. The second argument that is put forth is that gamers spend too much time on the gaming platform. This could be true not just for skill gaming apps, but for any online game like Free Fire or Battlegrounds Mobile India, or streaming platforms like YouTube or Netflix.
However, this is an issue that needs to be addressed and legitimate gaming apps have warning notifications if a person is spending too much time playing games and this should be a standard feature across all gaming platforms.
The third argument is that innocent people are being cheated. While this looks like a general statement, the issue really is of fair play. All reputed platforms usually obtain random number generators, and no-bots certificates from global firms, to ensure that a user is not playing against a computer and maintain fairness and transparency. The specifics for each operator may vary, but all Indian operators should ensure that the platforms are safe, secure, and fair and they are constantly innovating on this end.
Some critics say that these games are played by kids of all ages. This is a malicious and misleading argument as far as skill gaming platforms are concerned. There are several games that are meant for kids - games that are meant to aid their language, comprehension, maths etc.
These are different from skill gaming apps. All legitimate gaming apps in India compulsorily mandate that only adults can play the games, and this is being done through KYC checks.
It is important to distinguish between games of chance and games of skill. What are games of chance? These are games where luck is the most important factor for winning. These are pure luck games like instant win scratch cards, online bingo, online lottery, casino gaming, teen patti etc. Games of skill on the other hand involve significant playing skill like strategy, mental or physical skill.
Madras High Court judgement makes it abundantly clear about the validity of online games of skill, it is an opportunity for various state governments to make progressive laws relating to online gaming.: UnsplashUnsplash
While the Madras High Court judgement makes it abundantly clear about the validity of online games of skill, it is an opportunity for various state governments to make progressive laws relating to online gaming. Not just the Tamil Nadu government, but Andhra and Telangana governments that have adopted blanket ban ordinances, must examine all aspects before framing a new law that considers the interest of all stakeholders -- gamers, industry, gaming tech sector and esports sector.
More importantly, the law makers should not be misled by ill-informed activists and have detailed discussions with experts and industry bodies. What is important is that the law should weed out all unscrupulous players and only promote and encourage skill gaming platforms that adhere to the highest standards of ethics and fair play.
Countries like France and the United States are inviting game developers from across the world to set up operations in their countries. They want to develop their countries as the gaming hub of the world. India and states like Tamil Nadu can take a clue and work towards recognising gaming which is now the biggest social platform, the biggest pastime and one of the biggest sports disciplines in the world.
(The writer is the Founder of Policy Matrix, a public policy think-tank based in New Delhi. The views expressed are personal) (IANS/RN)
Keywords: Gaming, Laws, Tamil Nadu, Opinion
The Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to examine a seeking direction to the Election Commission to de-register a political party, which fails to comply with the court's direction to disclose criminal antecedents of candidates fielded in polls. Advocate Ashwini Upadhyay requested a bench headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana and comprising Justices A.S. Bopanna and Hima Kohli to list the petition urgently, against the backdrop of the ongoing election process. He contended that nomination for the first phase of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly election has started, and the political parties and candidates are brazenly violating the top court judgments.
After briefly hearing Upadhyay, the bench said: "We will consider it... will give a date".
The plea argued that allowing criminals to stand for election threatens democracy and secularism. | Wikipedia
The plea claimed that the cause of action for filing the plea arose after the Samajwadi Party fielded alleged gangster Nahid Hasan from Kairana but neither published his criminal records in electronic, print and social media nor the reason for his selection within 48 hours. On February 13, last year, Shamli police imposed the Gangster Act on Nahid Hasan, who is a two-time MLA from Kairana. "He (Hasan) has multiple criminal cases and is the 'mastermind' behind the Hindu exodus from Kairana. There are many criminal cases including fraud and extortion, and he was declared a fugitive by Special MLA-MP Court," the plea said.
The plea argued that the consequences of permitting criminals to contest and become legislators are extremely serious for democracy and secularism. The plea sought a direction to the Election Commission to take steps to ensure that every political party publishes the details regarding criminal cases of each candidate along with the reason for such selection on the homepage of its official website in bold letters within 48 hours in the spirit of top court orders passed on September 25, 2018, and February 2, 2020. (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: uttar pradesh assembly election, hima kohli, justices a.s. bopanna, chief justice n.v. ramana, political party, election commission, the supreme court, tainted candidates, action, plea)
There will be no chief guest at the Republic Day parade this year also as the plan to host state heads of five Central Asian countries -- Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan -- seems to have been cancelled due to the Covid situation in India as well as in the respective nations. Though the Ministry of External Affairs is yet to confirm this officially.
If the guests arrive, then this would be the second time when India hosts a group of state heads as the chief guests on the Republic Day. In 2018, state heads of ASEAN countries graced the occasion with their presence. Apart from Kazakhstan, none of these countries' state heads had been invited as the chief guests on the Republic Day. In 2009, Kazakhstan's then president Nursultan Nazarbayev was the Chief Guest.
The Government of India is in no mood to take any risk to invite any foreign guest.Unsplash
As per sources, due to the corona situation, the Government of India is in no mood to take any risk to invite any foreign guest, so the plan seems to have been cancelled. Last year, British Prime minister Boris Johnson was invited for the same, but later cancelled due to rising corona cases in the UK.
In the past, there have been occasions when the Republic Day ceremony was celebrated without any foreign guest. In 1966, there was no foreign chief guest in the Republic Day parade ceremony as the then Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri had passed away in Tashkent in January, and Indira Gandhi took oath as Prime Minister on January 24. (IANS/SP)
(Keywords : chief, guest, Republic Day, parade, India, January, pandemic, 2022, host, nation, guest, invite, foreign, occasion, presence, celebrate.)
A team of scientists from the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) have found a cure for those suffering from chronic wounds, particularly with diabetic foot ulcers. The team led by Prof Gopal Nath of the department of Microbiology, Institute of Medical Sciences, said that wounds that took months and years to heal, could now be cured in days or months. The findings of study have been published in the National Centre for Biotechnology Information, National Institutes of Health, US.
Prof Nath said that a wound is defined as a breach in the skin or body tissues due to injury. An acute wound is defined as a "recent break that is yet to progress through sequential stages of healing". The wounds where normal healing process is stalled due to underlying pathology (vascular and diabetes) or infection beyond three months is defined as chronic wound. While chronic wounds always get infected, the contaminated wounds are reasonably susceptible to infection.
A significant improvement could be achieved in the form of complete wound epithelization within a few weeks.Towfiqu barbhuiya / Unsplash
Infection with antibiotic-resistant bacteria and biofilm formation halt healing progress. These wounds cause significant psychological and physical morbidity. The traditional treatment strategies often succeed in healing wounds, he said adding that many wounds have been observed recalcitrant to them, leading to persistence and recurrent infections. Search for alternatives to antibiotics has now become a compulsion. Fortunately, bacteriophage therapy is a re-emerging solution to antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Prof Nath's team carried out phage therapy of acute and chronic infected wounds in animals and clinical studies. It showed efficacy against Pseudomonas aeruginosa in a mice wound model. Furthermore, they evaluated the efficacy of phage cocktails in animal models' acute and chronic osteomyelitis caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. They also observed biofilm eradication from K wire in rabbits' wound infection model. Clinical trials of phage therapy initiated by the BHU have reported the efficacy of topical phage in healing chronic wounds in three prospective exploratory studies and no adverse events mimicking the results in vivo animal models.
Scientists have found a cure for those suffering from diabetic foot ulcers. Unsplash
A clinical study by Gupta demonstrated the significant role of bacteriophage therapy in the chronic wounds associated with antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The study employed a total of twenty patients with chronic non-healing ulcers for more than six weeks duration. A significant improvement could be achieved in the form of complete wound epithelization within a few weeks. Another study, employing 48 patients having a minimum of one eligible full-thickness wound that did not heal in six weeks with convention wound management, showed the promising result, and significant improvement was observed in the wound healing.
The study projected that specific phage therapy is equally effective regardless of the diabetic or non-diabetic status of the patient though the healing was relatively delayed in diabetic patients. Another successful study has shown encouraging results on healing process of infected acute traumatic wounds. The average number of days required for complete granulation of wounds and attaining sterility and healing was half compared to conventional therapy. (IANS/SP)
(Keywords : scientists, cure, chronic, wound, suffer, ulcer, diabetes, healing, pathology, health, infection, bacteria, study, patient, therapy, successful.)
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