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Cable companies now have to declare their assets to the state

It will now be mandatory for Multi-System Operators (MSO) to declare their assets to the district Entertainment Duty (ED) department, in the same way that legislators declare their assets before contesting elections. In a bid to curb the malpractice of illegal cable connections in the city, the state government recently published a GR, issuing an order to MSOs across the state to declare their movable and immovable assets at the end of every financial year.

“Once the MSOs declares their assets, it would be easy for us to recover revenues from them,” said Mohini Chavan, head of the district ED department. She added that those who would not pay taxes would have their assets seized, keeping with the terms laid out in the Maharashtra Land Revenue Code 1966.

“According to the law, if the MSO fails to give the revenue it owes to the state government in the form of entertainment tax, its movable property would be seized by the government. Afterwards, if necessary, the immovable property can also be seized by the government,” added Chavan. She said that for the effective application of the law for the recovery of revenue, it was necessary for the state government to know about the assets of MSOs.

In addition to declaring the assets, the GR also stated that for the assurance of the revenue recovery, the MSO would now have to pay a security deposit to the ED department, which would be renewed every year.   Deepak Shivale of Hathway cable said, “As an individual entity, the Local Cable Operator (LCO) would be able to declare his asset, but it is impossible for MSOs who work for the company to declare theirs.”

MSOs unhappy

“We are already declaring our assets to the Income Tax department, in confidence. However, once we declare our assets to the ED department, it would come available under the RTI Act and our rival companies could take undue advantage of this,” said Baba Shaikh of NextGen cable network.

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