Contrary to what DTH players were hoping for, the Union Budget 2011 has given no relief from higher duties on set-top boxes (STBs). Also, there are no sops regarding entertainment taxes, license fees, or customs duties from the Finance Minister in his Budget speech in Parliament on February 28, 2011.
License fee, which is around 10 per cent at present, has not been revised by the Government. Besides, the industry continues to face entertainment tax, sometimes as high as 25 per cent, from various State Governments. The customs duty on import of STBs also did not the Government’s attention. With nearly 90-95 per cent of STBs being imported in India, it has always been an extra burden.
Reacting to the Budget declarations, Salil Kapoor, COO, Dish TV, stated, “As an industry, we have been expecting a lot from the Union Budget 2011, but no relief was given to us. Neither, duties on set-top boxes nor entertainment tax was reduced. There was no any relief on the part of license fees also from the Finance Minister.”
Meanwhile, one section of the industry is not much worried as their expectations were not very high from the Budget. While, Airtel Digital TV refused to comment on how they saw the Budget’s impact on the industry, Tata Sky was in no hurry to review the Budget haphazardly. Vikram Mehra, CMO, Tata Sky, said that they would take a few days to assess the Finance Minister’s Budget speech on various industry related issues.
The Government’s apathy towards the industry has not only disappointed the DTH owners, but is being seen as a setback to the drive for digitisation. However, industry experts believe that there is still hope for the industry if the State Budget gives them some relief in various other taxes, including entertainment tax.
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