In a representation made to the Finance Minister Mr Yashwant Sinha yesterday, Ms Sushma Swaraj, the I&B minister presented a case for the entertainment industry to be treated at par with the IT industry in terms of the tax structures at various levels. As reported by exchange4media yesterday, the minister along with other industry representatives were supposed to meet the FM to present a wish list to him before the upcoming budget.
Apart from asking for a parity with the IT industry on issues like taxes and customs duties, the minister also presented a strong case for rolling back the recently levied service tax on broadcasters.
According to Ms. Swaraj, the taxes will have a cascading effect on the industry, as there already are taxes at each level, like editing, recording and production. Imposition of tax at the broadcaster level will lead to an increase in the cost for the final consumer. Another point, which was brought up on behalf of the Film industry pertains to the advance tax structure.
As per the current rules, a producer has to pay advance tax, which is based on expectations of the film’s performance. Film industry representatives sought for abolition of the advance tax concept and asked for it to be treated under normal tax guidelines.
Mr. Ramamurthy of Gemini represented the Entertainment committee on CII. According to the representation made by CII a demand has been made for cinema halls to be given special depreciation benefits on equipment, machinery, décor etc on lines of similar benefits provided to the Hotel industry. Sunhash Ghai, one of the representatives from the Film Industry apart from Mr Yash Chopra, raised the issue of lack of private training facilities in India in the entertainment sector. Mukta Arts incidentally is in the process of tying up with a foreign university to set up such training institutes in India and Mr Ghai asked for a 10 year tax exemption on income of such training institutes.The industry representatives also suggested improvements in certain provisions of IT act as they cited problems in implementation of the same. The Finance Minister also commended Ms Swaraj for identifying herself so strongly with the industry and presenting their case well.
Apart from representatives from the Govt. and film industry, Mr. Arun Poorie, Living Media, Mr. Abhik Mitra, Saregama, Mr. Amit Khanna, Reliance Entertainment, Mr. I Venkat, Eenadu, Mr. Harish Thawani, Nimbus, Mr. Ajay Bijli, PVR, Mr. Deepak Ashar, Inox, Mr. Naresh Chahal, IBF and Mr. Manu Sahini, ESPN also attended the meeting.