On Monday, a film delegation met Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan to discuss issues related to the film industry, including multiple taxes and the industry’s demand for more cinema halls across the state.
Mukesh Bhatt, president of the Film and Television Producers Guild, says, “The Chief Minister gave us a patient hearing and he has agreed to help us in whichever way he can. We voiced our concerns to him; we face several problems while shooting in Mumbai, which, ironically, is the entertainment capital of the country. To add to his, many taxes have been levied on us. We told him how the industry’s growth would only help the state create more jobs. He has promised to help us out by looking into these issues.”
Kulmeet Makkar, CEO, Film and Television Producers Guild of India, points out that the industry is grateful to the CM for having granted retrospective exemption of VAT on copyrights through sale or lease of cinematographic film for theatrical purposes — with effect from 1st April, 2005 to 30th April, 2011 — in the recent budget session of the state assembly. “We are thoroughly pleased by the decision of the Maharashtra state government. This has been a major concern for the film industry in Maharashtra for many years now. This welcome step will go a long way in creating a congenial environment and will lead to the growth of the film industry.”
However, distributor and exhibitor Ramesh Sippy, who was part of the delegation, says that they also brought up the subject of Maharashtra paying the highest entertainment tax (45 percent). “States like Rajasthan and Punjab have no entertainment tax and other states levy only 20 percent entertainment tax. We discussed with him the lowering of this entertainment tax in our state. Also, the revenue that is raised from the taxes should be directed towards building more cinema halls.”
Another member says, “The entertainment tax, coupled with stamp duty on the contracts and additional taxes, makes it clear that we are paying dearly. We also voiced our fears about the LBT (local body tax) and how it would impact our industry.”