Collecting tax from online games a bid to legalise them says Cong stages walkout from MP assembly

Bhopal, Feb 13 (PTI) Congress MLAs on Tuesday staged a walkout from the Madhya Pradesh assembly opposing amendments to the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill 2023 that seeks to impose 28 per cent tax on online games, including betting, which the opposition party alleged was an attempt to legalise them.
The party said the move was not in the interest of the youths of the state.
The bill to amend the GST Act, moved by Finance Minister Jagdish Devda, said that online games like betting, horse racing, casino, lottery, online money gaming, Indian poker, Junglee Rummy were being played in the state for a long time with huge amount of money involved in it, although the government was not getting any tax on it.
The minister informed the House that the Centre has imposed 28 per cent tax on online games by bringing all these activities under the ambit of the GST Act.
An ordinance in this regard was first passed by the Madhya Pradesh assembly on September 27, 2023, but the bill was not introduced in the House for discussion and passage. So it was again tabled on January 27, this year, Devda said.
Prior to implementation of the ordinance, the GST was paid by online game operators on the entry fees only and they indulge in dealing worth crores while operating these online games, he said.
But after the amendment, the GST will be charged at the rate of 28 per cent on the entire money deposited by those participating in it.
This condition will be applicable on those operating these online games from abroad, he said.
This provision is already applicable at the Centre and 28 per cent GST on the entire collection will be applicable across the country while earlier the operators were paying it just on the entry fee collected by them.
Intervening in the matter, senior Congress member Ramniwas Rawat said how much income was expected from it and asked whether the entire state will be run from the earnings of betting.
Another senior Congress member Bhanwar Singh Shekhawat said if the government legalises all the bad things prevalent in the society, then how will things work, he asked.
Opposing the amendment in the bill, Leader of Opposition Umang Singhar said, "Do you want to run the entire government with online betting and satta? What will happen to the youth and what the government is thinking about them?" he asked.
How many such online registrations are there and how many among them are illegal and what is your policy for them, you have not told the House.
"We are opposing it as it will play with (lives) of the youth and we are stepping out from the House," he said.
Later, the Congress members staged a walkout, but the ruling party passed the amendments on the basis of its strength in the House.

(This story has not been edited by THE WEEK and is auto-generated from PTI)