December 3, 2023

On Tuesday, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced that the GST Council is currently discussing taxation policies for online gaming. She expressed optimism that the sector would receive investment once the policies are finalized. Sitharaman was answering a query from Krafton, a Korean gaming company, regarding India’s efforts to lure foreign investment in gaming companies.

According to the minister, the GST Council is engaged in discussions at the ministerial level regarding different aspects of online gaming, such as taxation and regulation. The council, which is presided over by Sitharaman and includes finance ministers from various states, is responsible for overseeing the Goods and Services Tax.

“Once the policy certainty arrives, taxation becomes more … clear, it will attract investors,” Sitharaman said while addressing the Indian diaspora in Seoul.

During the Covid lockdown, there was a surge in online gaming, resulting in a significant increase in the number of users in India. According to a report by KPMG, the online gaming industry is expected to grow from 13,600 crore in 2021 to 29,000 crore by 2024-25.

The issue of imposing Goods and Services Tax (GST) on online games has been a contentious one for almost two years. Several states have advocated for a lower tax rate on online games that require skill, arguing that games of skill should not be treated on par with games of chance. However, a decision on this matter has not been reached yet. The GST Council is expected to make a conclusive decision on taxation policies for online gaming in its upcoming meeting, which may take place either this month or in June.

In the previous month, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology released guidelines for the online gaming sector, prohibiting all games involving betting and wagering. The sector will adopt a self-regulatory approach, with three self-regulatory organizations (SROs) being appointed initially to authorize games that comply with regulations for operations in the country.

Responding to Krafton’s question, Sitharaman, in a lighter vein, said she likes to watch memes and also animes of Japan and Korea.

“I’d love them to come to India.The mastery with which the story weaving happens, there is so much positivity. That’s what we want for adults today,” she said. 


(With inputs from PTI)

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