Opposition leaders blame Centre for refusing to reconsider 28% GST on online gaming

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The GST Council, in its 51st meeting yesterday, decided to stick to the 28% tax rate on full face value on online gaming and casinos. Among other things, it announced that the tax will be levied on initial deposits.

Delhi Finance Minister and GST Council member, Atishi Singh expressed her disappointment over the Council’s decision soon after the announcement last evening. In her Tweet, she elaborated on her efforts to have the new GST rate reconsidered (it was also confirmed by the Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her press conference yesterday), but was not able to convince the Council members.

The AAP leader further mentioned that the BJP-led central government did not agree with her and the Delhi government will continue fighting for India’s start-up ecosystem, hoping that the ruling party pays heed to their pleas.

Notably, Atishi had promised to take up the case of online gaming firms in yesterday’s GST Council meeting after listening to the concerns of a delegation of industry representatives a day earlier.

All gaming is not gambling: Manish Tewari

Congress MP and former Information and Broadcasting minister, Manish Tewari also criticized the Centre. He tweeted today saying that the government first destroyed the cryptocurrency ecosystem with 1% TDS and 30% tax on gains as income from other sources and now it is doing the same with the online gaming industry.

“All gaming is not gambling.. Something is terribly wrong with the Government’s Tax theology & it’s much touted focus on innovation & start up’s,” Tewari added.

Tewari had also previously asked for clarity on the GST Council’s decision in the Lok Sabha which was answered by Minister of State for Finance Pankaj Chaudhary.

While the decision to levy tax on the initial deposits does come as little bit of relief for the industry, the effects will only be apparent after the new law is implemented. Importantly, a review is slated to be done after six months from implementation.