Television

Prasar Bharati exempt from service tax

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In what should come as a relief to pubcaster Prasar Bharati, the Solicitor General of India has clarified that Prasar Bharati need not pay service tax.

It may be recalled that when finance minister Yashwant Sinha presented his budget he had proposed that the pubcaster should be made to pay "since it is a commercial organisation, Prasar Bharati does not need the exemption from the five per cent service tax."

Following this, Prasar Bharati referred the matter to the information & broadcasting ministry, which in turn sought the solicitor general's directive on the matter through the law ministry.

Meanwhile, in an unrelated development, the Standing Committee on Information Technology has reportedly criticised the I&B Ministry over its slow completion of projects. The committee slammed the ministry's tendency to "wake up" to the need to use budgetary allocations towards the end of the financial year. Timely completion of projects will ensure that the public derives the full benefits of broadcasting/telecasting services, the committee said. 

The committee noted that out of an outlay of Rs 3,250 million (revised to Rs 2,900 million) provided to the ministry for schemes pertaining to national broadcaster Doordarshan, the ministry utilised only Rs 1,578.6 million till February 2002. 

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