‘As government, we don’t understand technology’ – Karnataka IT Min Priyank Kharge on online gaming industry and 28% GST

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Karnataka’s IT Minister Priyank Kharge recently appeared at a conclave, wherein online gaming’s concern related to 28% GST were discussed. Kharge opined that the government’s approach to regulate online gaming industry is not optimal.

He believes that the lack of clarity for government on games of chance and games of skill is the main issue that is making the industry suffer. Multiple times, he has raised concerns on the matter, calling the demands ‘unrealistic and unreasonable’.

Contradictory to Kharge, Revenue Minister Krishna Byre Gowda has differentiated opinions on online gaming taxation. The views of two ministers within the same government are having contradictory opinions, Moneycontrol asked Kharge.

Watch Kharge’s video here:

Kharge replied, commenting that the difference is due to Gowda being from GST department, while he himself belongs to the IT industry. The governments are not familiar with technical aspects, which is causing the industry to suffer, he said.

The IT minister also added about the ill-effects of 28% GST on online gaming activities. Within a week of implementation, there were about 7,000 lay-offs in the online gaming industry, Kharge claimed. Some smaller firms even had to shut down their operations completely.

According to Kharge, the government isn’t able to understand technology. He further demanded a differentiation between skill games like chess and games of chances. He maintained his stance, saying that he is strictly against any form of gambling. However, there has to be a clear distinction between these activities, Kharge demanded.

He criticized the GST application on gaming and said that the government is simply killing the industry. “When you get a cold, you take medicine, not cut the nose,” he metaphorically said, pointing to the government’s policies.