Government asked to reconsider taxes on film industry

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

HYDERABAD - Speakers at the Media and Entertainment Business Conclave (MEBC) of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) here Wednesday urged the government to reconsider the taxes on film industry to save it from slide.

The speakers at the inaugural session of the two-day event also underlined the need to revisit the rules regarding various taxes on media and film industry.

Eminent filmmaker and chairman of FICCI entertainment committee Yash Chopra opposed the amendments to the Goods and Services Tax (GST), saying these could have an adverse impact on the industry.

Chopra, who heads Yash Raj Films, said the amendments were of such a serious nature that they may not allow any filmmaker to make a film profitably. He urged the industry stakeholders to seriously and expeditiously examine the steps that need to be taken to prevent the industry from a slide.

The conclave, with the theme “regional is the new national”, is being attended by media and entertainment business people along with government officials in a bid to deliberate action on issues confronting the industry across the state.

Actor and chairman of Media & Entertainment Business Conclave, FICCI, Kamal Haasan, said “regional” had always been “national”, a phenomenon that was well understood by Mahatma Gandhi. He called upon the industry to work out a concrete plan of action so that it could be presented to the government.

Media baron Ramoji Rao in his key-note address urged the governments at the centre and in the state to revisit their “step motherly” treatment of imposing “punitive” taxes on the industry.

He called for providing incentives to filmmaking as was being done in New Zealand, Australia, Singapore and Malaysia and termed the situation in India “pathetic”.

“The entertainment tax structure is flawed, and taxes levied can at best be termed as punitive. Even the nominal concessions given to low-budget films are diluted by riders of various kinds,” he said and pointed out that filmmakers totter under the burden of several impositions line VAT, stamp duties and entertainment tax.

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