Responses given by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) to RTI applications filed by a critic, Dr Gaurav Tyagi, an assistant professor at JNU, revealed that the government can't stop the game from launching in India.
PUBG mobile dubbed as Battlegrounds Mobile India is expected to be launched in India soon. The battle royale game comes with a different name when compared to PUBG Mobile. However, there are numerous similarities reported between the two.
Responding to the RTI, the IT ministry said, "Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has no role in granting any permission for entry of PUBG or any company/Mobile app in India."
PUBG mobile was banned by the Indian government in September last year, citing that the game was a threat to the “sovereignty, integrity, defence, and security of the country”. Ever since, there has been several attempts by Krafton to bring the battle royale game back in the country.
What Does This Mean?
This means that Krafton developers did not take any formal permission to launch the game in India.
It should be noted that MeiTy can still ban the game, but only once it is launched under the provisions of section 69A of the Information Technology Act, 2000, the RTI further states.
The Ministry of Home Affairs, in its statement, said, "MHA does not grant permission for launching any app. Meity issues blocking direction for any mobile applications under the provisions of section 69A of the Information Technology Act, 2000 and its rules, namely the Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking for Access of Information for Public) Rules, 2009, in the interest of sovereignty and integrity of India, security of state and defence of India etc. Regarding vii, CPIO is not supposed to provide opinion under RTI Act."
Pre-registration for Battlegrounds Mobile India have been open since 18 May. Recent posts from Krafton suggest that the game will launch on 18 June.
Indian Embassy in Korea Met With Krafton Officials
Earlier, in 2020, it was reported that PUBG Corporation executives are running the government officials for more than a month for a meeting but they are yet to get an appointment from the government side.
However, a new RTI filed by Medianama.com, a technology website revealed that officials from Krafton Inc met with officials from the Indian embassy in Seoul on 13 August 2020.
In the RTI, the Indian embassy refused to provide e-mails it received from Krafton, citing “stringent Korean Privacy laws”. It also said that it didn’t maintain any records of the August meeting with Krafton, which it said was held at the request of the company, reported Medianama.
'WeChat, Tiktok Might Follow Suit'
Dr Tyagi believes that the central government should take strict action against these apps, which are trying to circumvent India laws, "otherwise tomorrow, other apps such as WeChat and TikTok will also use this route to re-enter India with modified names", he said in an interview with India.com.
Sources familiar with the company’s plans told The Quint that Battlegrounds Mobile India will launch this week. "There won't be a ban on the game so soon, the ban can only take place after it is released provided there is significant public outrage", the source said.
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