The Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly on Tuesday passed by voice vote the AP Gaming (Amendment) Bill 2020, banning online gaming in the state after some youngsters died by suicide in recent days after they were pushed into debt due to online games.
The Assembly also passed the Andhra Pradesh Municipal Laws (Second Amendment) Bill 2020 by voice vote, and three Bills to give a major push to the aquaculture sector that contributes over Rs 50,660 crore to the state's economy every year. The AP Fish Feed (Quality Control) Bill, the AP Aquaculture Seed (Quality Control) Amendment Bill and the Andhra Pradesh Fisheries University Bill 2020 were passed by voice vote amid protests by the opposition Telugu Desam Party.
Speaking on the Gaming Amendment Bill, Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy said some youngsters had died by suicide in recent days after they were pushed into debt due to online gaming.
"Strict action would be taken against all offenders, irrespective of their social status. Recently, a distant relative of a minister was involved in such an activity and he was not spared. Our government is transparent and will not spare anyone," the CM said.
Read: Despite ban on online gambling, Andhra man dies by suicide after incurring debts
Home Minister M Sucharita said the AP Gaming Act, 1974 was being amended to bring online gaming into its purview.
Explaining the objective behind amending the gaming law, the Home Minister pointed out that online gambling could increase the number of organised crimes like money laundering and fraud. "Many internet websites which claim to provide gambling services are not authentic and there are no regulatory measures to check the legitimacy of these sites. That makes it really easy for these sites to defraud the customers and it also raises a lot of security and privacy issues," Sucharita added.
Under the amendment, the first offence attracts imprisonment for up to one year and fine of Rs 5,000. For every subsequent offence, the term of imprisonment might extend up to two years and a fine of Rs 10,000. Every offence under this law has been made cognisable and non-bailable.
Andhra Pradesh Municipal Laws (Second Amendment Bill) proposes to alter house tax structure by a nominal hike. For people living in 375 sq ft houses, the hike will be Rs 50 per annum.
Municipal Administration Minister Botsa Satyanarayana said as part of the reforms suggested by the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, the relevant state laws were being amended to switch over property tax levy from the present annual rental value system to capital value based system. The new system would fetch the state over Rs 120 crore as additional revenue on property tax in urban local bodies.
The aqua sector Bills have provisions for setting up a regulatory mechanism to ensure quality of fish feed and seed to prevent farmers from incurring losses due to spurious feed, according to Fisheries Minister Seediri Appalaraju.
Read: Andhra CM Jagan urges Union govt to block gaming websites and apps
With inputs from PTI and IANS