Budget 2024 : Online Gaming Startups Seek Progressive Taxation, AVGC Allocation

Budget 2024 : Online Gaming Startups Seek Progressive Taxation, AVGC Allocation

📌 Gaming startups want tax clarity in Budget 2024 amidst strict regulations. They're grappling with the current blanket 28% GST and need a distinction between games of skill and chance.

📌 Skill building is a major concern. Startups urge the government to announce skill-building programs in the budget to address the industry's talent shortage.

📌 Budgetary allocation for AVGC (Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming, and Comics) is a key hope. Industry players expect FM Sitharaman to consider the budget allocation recommendations suggested by the AVGC task force in her speech.

As Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman prepares to present the Interim Budget 2024 on February 1st, India's fast-growing online gaming and esports industries are urging the government for support and action.

Taxation Confusion Clouds Growth: The sector, reeling from a blanket 28% GST in July 2023, seeks clarity on taxation regimes. Gamezop co-founder Gaurav Agarwal calls for a progressive system to incentivize investment and job creation. Namratha Swamy from MPL echoes this sentiment, highlighting the need for clarity to revive investor confidence and fuel the next phase of growth.

Building a Global Gaming Hub: Esports companies and federations dream of a dedicated fund to nurture the ecosystem and solidify India's position as a global esports hub. Lokesh Suji, director of the Esports Federation of India, hopes for tax relief for esports athletes to attract talent and ensure long-term success. Rohit Agarwal from Alpha Zegus suggests reducing esports taxation to 18% and encouraging state governments to allocate budgets for esports growth. KR Rohith of Bengaluru-based Gods Reign emphasizes the need for state-level esports championships and educational programs focused on gaming and esports to nurture talent and align with the nation's digital skills agenda.

Beyond Taxes, Nurturing Talent: Both online gaming and esports industries emphasize the importance of educational programs. Swamy believes dedicated courses in gaming are crucial for creating a steady supply of skilled talent. Rohith proposes incorporating esports into educational curriculums and skill development initiatives, echoing the Bihar government's initiative to introduce esports into schools and colleges.

Budget 2024 presents a crucial opportunity for the government to address the anxieties and aspirations of these promising sectors. By providing clarity on taxation, investing in infrastructure, and supporting talent development, the government can unlock the immense potential of online gaming and esports to contribute to India's economic growth and digital future.

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January 28, 2024

Kalpana Maurya