Debt-ridden Punjab to end 10-yr waiver of entertainment tax
Cash-starved Punjab, which is unable to pay its employees' salaries on time, is set for more desperate cash raising measures and abolish its popular tax waiver policies.
Movie buffs in Punjab will now have to spend more to catch their favourite stars on the big screen as Punjab government has drafted a new policy that will levy a 15% entertainment tax on multiplexes and single-screen cinema halls.
The new Punjab entertainment industry and film tourism promotion policy (PEIFTPP) 2013, a copy of which is with TOI, has been jointly drafted by National Film Development Corporation (NFDC) and Punjab Heritage and Tourism Board (PHTB).
These rates, being hiked after a gap of ten years, are likely to become effective after the announcement of policy in December.
Under the new policy, the price of premium tickets will be hiked from Rs 300 to Rs 345 on week days and from 350 to Rs 400 on weekends across Punjab.
According to the 2003 amendment of Punjab Entertainment Duty Act, 1955, announced during the Congress regime, all multiplexes and single-screen cinemas had been given a 100% waiver for the first five years of their existence. In many cases, the waiver to multiplexes with a revenue generation of more than Rs 100 crore was later extended to ten years. At present, only one multiplex is levying entertainment tax in Ludhiana.
The government is also in the process of setting up a Punjab State Film Commission, implementing agency for the policy,
The commission will have chief minister as its chairman, besides 10 other members, including ministers and secretaries of tourism and finance departments and the chief secretary.
However, the policy will allow a rebate of 5% entertainment tax to Punjab filmmakers, provided 75% of dialogues of the movie are in Punjabi.
"This means that Punjabi filmmakers will be able to take back 5% of the tax revenue generated from their films," said an official of Punjab tourism and culture affairs department.
According to NFDC, Punjabi film industry has produced 900 to 1,000 films till 2009. It is pegged at a meagre Rs 50 crore and on an average, 15-20 A-grade films are made annually.