wordpress blog stats
Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Satyamev Jayate: Why Are SMS Donations Being Taxed?

If you watched Satyamev Jayate, the Aamir Khan anchored talk show that focuses on social issues in India, and solicits extensive user participation, you might have noticed that Khan asks viewers to donate to charities by sending an SMS. The cost of the SMS is Re 1, and it’s available across major – but not all – telecom operators like Airtel, Aircel, Idea, Reliance (GSM and CDMA), Tata Docomo, Tata Indicom and Vodafone. That accounts for (as of last month), around 86% of India’s active mobile user base, and a reach of over 588 million mobile subscribers.

The potential of mobile for collecting donations, given the reach, the ease of use, the ability to send multiple SMS’ and most importantly, the impulse to donate is significant. What I noticed while watching the show is that, towards the end, when Khan asks viewers to donate, he says that the money collected via these donations will be donated after deduction of government taxes (watch the specific segment in the video clip). If donations to charity are typically exempt from tax or tax deductible, I don’t see why SMS’ sent for charity should be taxed.

It’s probably something that government organizations haven’t really given much thought to. Given that different numbers have been mandated by the TRAI for short codes, perhaps the authority and/or the government should also consider a numbering scheme for short codes for mobile donations to charities. Short codes in India begin with a prefix of 5, but perhaps the DoT or the regulator should recommend a separate prefix for donations.

The user probably doesn’t care – it’s just a Re 1 SMS – but the money that gets cut because of government taxes should be going to the charity it is meant for.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.



By Rahul Rai and Shruti Aji Murali A little less than a year since their release, the Consumer Protection (E-commerce) Rules, 2020 is being amended....


By Anand Venkatanarayanan                         There has been enough commentary about the Indian IT...


By Rahul Rai and Shruti Aji Murali The Indian antitrust regulator, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) has a little more than a decade...


By Stella Joseph, Prakhil Mishra, and Surabhi Prabhudesai The recent difference of opinions between the Government and Twitter brings to fore the increasing scrutiny...


This article is being posted here courtesy of The Wire, where it was originally published on June 17.  By Saksham Singh The St Petersburg paradox,...

You May Also Like


With less than ten days provided for comments from stakeholders, the Department of Telecommunications has put out a set of Draft Guidelines for Registration...

MediaNama is the premier source of information and analysis on Technology Policy in India. More about MediaNama, and contact information, here.

© 2008-2021 Mixed Bag Media Pvt. Ltd. Developed By PixelVJ

Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Your email address:*
Please enter all required fields Click to hide
Correct invalid entries Click to hide

© 2008-2021 Mixed Bag Media Pvt. Ltd. Developed By PixelVJ