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|April 26, 2001||
Rationalise entertainment tax: SIMCON meet
Preliminary discussions on rationalisation of entertainment tax and bringing cinema to the Concurrent list were the main concerns at the first meeting of a subcommittee attended by information ministers from eight states in New Delhi.
Information Ministers Hiren Pandya of Gujarat and Lalthangiana of Mizoram attended the meeting along with officials from Assam, Rajasthan, Jammu & Kashmir, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. The meeting was chaired by Information and Broadcasting Minister Sushma Swaraj. Also present was her Minister of State Ramesh Bais.
However, there was no representative from Karnataka, a member of the subcommittee.
Issues that came up for discussion were: transferring cinema to the Concurrent list from the State list of the Indian Consitution, thus facilitating the healthy growth of the entertainment industry; the implementation of the Cable Television Networks Regulation Act to check video piracy and adherence to the programme and advertising codes. Construction of more multiplexes and cinema houses was also discussed.
The subcommittee had been set up at the conclusion of the last State Information Ministers' Conference (SIMCON), held in January 2001. Most of the states present at the conference had opposed the shifting of cinema to the Concurrent list and had also felt that the Centre could not interfere with the tax structure, which was a concern.
The film industry has, for several years, been demanding some rationalisation in the tax structure. The Union I & B ministry is said to to be in favour of fixing an upper limit. Since cinema has now been recognised as an industry, it is also felt that the tax should be ploughed back for production of better cinema.
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