Let’s begin – In a change of stance, the Centre has decided to pitch for differential taxation of online gaming, with “games of chance” (gambling) to suffer a higher incidence of goods and service tax compared with “games of skill”. According to an official source, all online games should not be considered as games of chance or betting or gambling. “There has to be a differentiation between games of skill and games of chance,” the source said, adding that the finance ministry will put forth its view when the GST Council takes up the report of a group of ministers on online gaming, horse racing and casinos. Although the final decision will be that of the Council, where both the Centre and states enjoy a veto, the ministry may recommend the highest GST rate of 28% for online games, where the winning is dependent on a certain outcome or, is in the nature of betting or gambling. A lower rate, say 18%, may be recommended for games of skill.
Now an industry related news – Travel tech firm Oyo turned cash flow positive during the fourth quarter of FY23, the company informed its employees in a townhall on Thursday, adding that its next goal is to become profitable.Industry sources said that the company told the employees that it ended Q4 with nearly Rs 90 crore surplus cash flow. Ritesh Agarwal, founder and CEO, also told the employees that the firm marked its first financial year of adjusted Ebitda profitability in FY23 and is expected to clock adjusted Ebitda of nearly Rs 800 crore in FY24.
Meanwhile – The Reserve Bank of India has lifted a major roadblock for investments in the International Financial Services Centre at GIFT City, Gujarat, through the Liberalised Remittance Scheme route. Indian residents can now make remittances to IFSCs under the LRS framework. They are allowed to open a foreign currency account in IFSC. Until now, any funds lying idle in FCA for up to 15 days had to be repatriated to the domestic rupee account. A new RBI circular has now allowed unutilised funds to be repatriated and surrendered to an authorised dealer bank within 180 days.
Moving on – Total enrolments under Atal Pension Yojana, a government-backed scheme guaranteeing a minimum monthly pension of Rs 1,000-5,000 to the subscribers based on their contributions, crossed the 52 million mark on March 31.The scheme enrolled more than 11.9 million new subscribers in FY23 as compared to 9.9 million in FY22, clocking more than 20% growth, the finance ministry said in a statement. As of date, the total assets under management in APY is more than Rs 27,200 crore and the scheme has generated an investment return of 8.69% since inception on May 9, 2015. Under APY, a subscriber would receive a lifelong minimum guaranteed pension of Rs 1,000 to Rs 5,000 per month from the age of 60 years, depending on their contributions.
In a separate development – State-run power firm NTPC on Thursday said its subsidiary NTPC Renewable Energy has won a 500 MW renewable energy round-the-clock project from REMCL, a joint venture of ministry of railways and RITES. The capacity, won in a competitive bidding, is a major share of total 900 MW RE-RTC on offer, the company said in a statement, adding that the power purchase agreement will be signed with REMCL for 25 years. The project, a combination of solar and wind, assumes significance as Railways plans to use this green energy for their de-carbonization trajectory.
In another development – Wipro on Thursday reported a muted 0.70% sequential rise in its net profit to Rs 3,074.5 crore during the January-March, missing the Bloomberg consensus estimate of Rs 3,129 crore. Revenues during the period were down 0.16% on a sequential basis to Rs 23,190 crore, also below the estimate of Rs 23,460 crore. The IT company’s board of directors approved buyback of shares worth Rs 12,000 crore, subject to approval of shareholders through postal ballot. The company will buy up to 269,662,921 shares of Rs 2 each (4.91% of total paid-up equity shares) from shareholders by way of a tender offer at a price of Rs 445 per share.
Lastly- Domestic indices may open higher amid positive global cues. The Nifty futures on the Singapore Exchange (SGX) were trading 81 points or 0.45% higher at 18,074 in today’s early morning trade. Asian markets were trading in green with South Korea’s KOSPI rising 0.81%, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng jumping 1.18%, Japan’s Nikkei 225 surging 0.71% and China’s Shanghai Composite Index soaring 0.68%.