Govt earns Rs 1.26 bn as licence fee from DTH operators

NEW DELHI: The Government earned Rs 1.26 billion as licence fee from the direct-to-home (DTH) operators during 2009-10, up from Rs 893.81 million a year ago, as their subscriber base and revenues have seen strong growth.

DTH players are required to pay a licence fee equivalent to 10 per cent of their gross revenue.
The licence fee collected in 2007-08 was Rs 345.63 million, but went up in the later years as the number of DTH players increased. The amount paid to the government is fixed from the gross revenues of DTH operators.

These amounts are apart from the service tax for which the Department of Revenue says it does not maintain separate records, and entertainment tax which is a state subject. 
Information and Broadcasting Ministry sources said that though a proposal was made for reduction of licence fee, the matter could not progress further because the DTH players insisted on adjusted gross revenue instead of gross revenue. They also wanted some items like the sale of set-top boxes to be kept out of this. The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (Tdsat) had on 28 March this year upheld this demand of DTH operators.

The Government had filed a civil appeal in the Supreme Court against an earlier order of 26 August 2008 in this regard.

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