The media and entertainment industry is expected to make a pitch for parity with information technology and hotel industries as part of pre-budget presentation to finance minister Yashwant Sinha. High on the priority list is removal of service tax on broadcasting sector, reduction of import duties on hardware equipments, audio CDs and DVDs and tax breaks for cinema hall owners, including multiplexes.
The Information & Broadcasting minister Sushma Swaraj would lead a delegation of entertainment industry representatives as part of the pre-budget deliberations with the Finance Minister on January 16.
Swaraj is expected to meet industry representatives on January 7 to take stock of thrust areas for the sector.
Representatives from broadcasting industry - the biggest contributor with around 50 per cent share of the entertainment pie - feel that by bringing the sector under the service tax net, the growth of the nascent industry would take a hit.
According to Bhuvan Lall, executive director, Indian Broadcasting Foundation, the broadcasting business, has been one of the fastest growing segments in the entertainment sector. The service tax is estimated to lead to an annual outgo of around Rs 145 crores for the industry on the whole. Of this, state-owned Doordarshan has to dole out Rs 35 crores, while the remaining is bourne by private broadcasters.
The industry has sought rationalisation of duty rates, at par with those in the information technology sector.
The film industry, as represented by All Indian Film Producers Council, has sought re-energising the process of film financing by financial institutions. The council notes that IDBI has slowed down the process of disbursal and approvals of loans to film producers.
The music industry plans to canvass for removal of restrictions on import of audio CDs.
The cinema exhibition industry has sought parity with the hotel industry in relation to income tax exemptions and depreciation rates.
The industry has also called for reduction in import duty rates for exhibition equipments, the cumulative impact of which ranges between 38 per cent and 50 per cent.
The sops would go a long way in helping the industry achieve a turnover of around Rs 30,000 crores by 2005, feel industry observers.