26September2018

Andaman Chronicle

The Daily Diary of the Islands

Why Can’s Entertainment Tax be Waived Off for Benefiting Cinema Goers?

Divyum Talkies at Prathrapore the lone cinema theatre with its splendidly designed complex in the islands which has two cine halls Priyam and Diviyum, each with seating capacity of 110 and 108 respectively screens latest Bollywood, Hollywood and regional movies daily in the complex.

Historically, before India acquired independence, British government imposed heavy taxes on the events of amusements and entertainment. After independence, old enactments continued and there has been no revision or repeal of these acts. Movie tickets, large commercial shows and large private festival celebrations may incur an entertainment tax. Entertainment tax structure in India varies across states and is the highest in Uttar Pradesh at 60 per cent. In Maharashtra, entertainment tax was reduced by five per cent in 2005.There is no tax for Tamil films in Tamil Nadu or for Marathi films in Maharashtra. Some states give a five-year tax exemption to single-screen theatres under municipal councils and a seven-year exemption in rural areas. In Tamil Nadu according to the new guidelines it is not just enough that a film has Tamil titles. A film must not have too much of adult stuff & blood and violence should be very limited. Films seeking entertainment has exemption must also have a story crux that does not delineate form the Tamil culture, a movie will be eligible for tax exemption only when all these condition are satisfied. In March 2011, Rajasthan become the first state to exempt theatres from entertainment tax the state government has set new rules for films seeks entertainment tax waiver,

There is also a provision to grant tax exemption to films which have received National & International awards. Entertainment shows organised to promote the cause of education, philanthropy and sports are also granted tax exemptions.

A committee consisting of Chief Secretary, Deputy Commissioner, Secretaries of tourism and finance departments, if formed can  grant liberal exemptions, and the theatre owner  can apply  for tax exemption to the administration for  films which have received National or International awards and wait for a positive outcome in the near future. The tax benefits therefore should be passed on to the cinema goers. School children can block the entire hall where in some educational film can be shown to them, now the rate per ticket is Rs 160/- and 15% entertainment tax waiver means for a family of five persons 24 X 5 =120, this will reduce the price drastically which will immensely benefit the poor sections of the society, and adolescents who frequently hang out in bars after sunset.

- Dr. Dinesh