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The Rise of eSports in India: Anticipation Builds for Government Support Ahead of the Interim Budget 2024-25

The officially recognized status of eSports as a multi-sport event by the Indian government has sparked substantial growth within the industry, positioning it as a prominent new-age sport. The sector’s journey to mainstream recognition reached new heights with its inclusion as an official medal sport in the Asian Games 2022 and its potential consideration for entry into the Olympics.

Union Budget 2024: Government support and tax relief are key to the Indian Esports industry’s growth

Optimism Surrounding Government Support

As Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman prepares to present the interim Budget for fiscal 2024-25 in the Lok Sabha on February 1, the eSports community remains optimistic about the prospects of government support. Mr. Lokesh Suji, Director of Esports Federation of India & Vice President of the Asian Esports Federation (AESF), expressed hope for a dedicated allocation of funds for the eSports sector and incentives for Indian video game development studios. This support is anticipated to encourage innovation and enable homegrown titles to thrive within the community.

Economic Growth and Industry Potential

According to the “Leveling up: State of India Gaming FY’23” report by Lumikai in collaboration with Google, the Indian gaming industry achieved a remarkable $3.1 billion in FY23 and is poised to reach $7.5 billion by FY28. This significant growth underscores the impressive potential of the eSports industry in India.

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State-Level Engagement and Industry Development

States like Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Kerala are actively engaging with Esports by organizing tournaments, establishing eSports academies, and forming partnerships with sector organizations or publishers. The involvement of state governments is recognized as a crucial factor in nurturing talent within the industry and aligning with the national agenda of promoting digital skills.

Expectations from the Budget

Key figures within the Esports industry are looking to the upcoming budget with several expectations:

  • Tax Relief and GST Reduction: The hope for tax relief for athletes on winnings from Esports tournaments and a call to reduce the GST on Esports activities from 28% to 18%.
  • Educational Programs and Skill Development: A desire for the government’s support in encouraging educational programs by integrating Esports into Educational Curriculums and fostering skill development initiatives focused on gaming and Esports.
  • State-Level Esports Championships: The suggestion for the allocation of funds to each state government for the organization and promotion of State Esports Championships, aiming to contribute to the organic growth of Esports across the nation.
  • Regulations and Encouragement for State Governments: Anticipation for more regulations in terms of in-game and tournament winnings and encouragement for more state governments to allocate budgets for the growth and promotion of Esports, similar to the initiatives in Bihar.

Conclusion

With all eyes on the upcoming budget, the eSports community is hopeful that government support will lay the foundation for a sustainable and thriving eSports ecosystem in India. The industry’s growth trajectory and potential underscore the significance of favourable policies and support from the government to further foster this burgeoning sector.

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Raunak Saha
Raunak Saha
A cs engineer by profession but foodie from heart. I am tech lover guy who has a passion for singing. Football is my love and making websites is my hobby.
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