Tax sop on Set top boxes to continue till 30 September

NEW DELHI: India's finance ministry would extend by two months the tax sop on import of set-top boxes (STBs) needed for implementing conditional access system. The ongoing incentive period ends on 31 July.

"The finance ministry has agreed to our request of extending the deadline for reduction of import duties on set top boxes till 30 September," an official of the information and broadcasting ministry said today, pointing out that a notification to this effect would be issued either today or tomorrow.

Fazed by criticism on lack of availability of boxes even while going ahead with conditional access system (CAS) rollout earlier this year, the government had reduced import duties on set top boxes to 5 per cent from about 52 per cent with an aim to give fillip to imports.

With pressure mounting from all sides, the government has now further extended the tax sop.

A few days back, in reply to a query from a fellow parliamentarian, I & B minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had said that, as per data available with the government, slightly over 50,000 boxes had been cleared by the customs till 16 July.

Today, the government official pointed out that though they don't have an exact fix on the number of boxes as of Monday, the feedback from the industry, including multi-system operators, is that 200,000 STBs are in the country.

The government also has directed the broadcasters to give their final pricing and details of the incentives and promotional activities leading up to CAS rollout.

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