The subjects of films and audio-visual programmes/content made available by online content providers/publishers have been allocated to I&B Ministry
The move comes after the GST Council under the Ministry of Finance imposed a 28% GST on online gaming with no distinction between games of skill and chance
The move also comes weeks after MoS IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar said he would urge the GST Council to reconsider the 28% GST imposed on online gaming
In yet another policy shift for online gaming, the government has brought online gaming content and advertising under the purview of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB), per a Gazette notification issued Monday (July 31).
In an amendment to the Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules, the subjects of films and audio-visual programmes or content made available by online content providers or publishers and online advertisements have been allocated to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting led by Anurag Thakur.
The word ‘providers’ in entry 22A in the Second Schedule of the AoB rules, under the heading Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has been replaced by ‘providers/publishers’, per the Gazette notification.
“This will lead to coverage of online gaming content and online advertising. This covers all online advertising. We can amend the Information Technology rules now,” an official said.
The move comes after the GST Council under the Ministry of Finance imposed a 28% GST on online gaming, or real money gaming as it is called in the industry. GST is now applicable to gross revenue or total prize pool and the panel has made no distinction between games of skill and games of chance.
Incidentally, the move to shift online gaming content under the ambit of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting also comes around two weeks after the Union Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar said he would urge the GST Council to reconsider the 28% GST imposed on online gaming.
“We will go back to the GST council and maybe request their consideration on the facts of the new regulatory framework,” said Chandrasekhar at the CNN-News18 Townhall in Delhi in July.
The aftermath saw terse responses from the industry with many saying that the move would have disastrous consequences that could make the entire online gaming industry disappear.
Shifting online advertising, on the other hand, is a less surprising move given that the MIB already looks at offline and physical advertising.
Interestingly, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry issued an advisory for TV channels, newspapers and digital media outlets last June, asking them to ‘refrain from publishing advertisements’ of real money games. Now that online gaming is under the purview of the ministry itself, it remains to be seen whether any changes in that stance would be forthcoming.