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Delhi govt meets MSOs on entertainment tax issue

NEW DELHI: The Delhi government met up with the multi-system operators (MSO) of the city in a bid to enhance revenue collections in the form of entertainment tax, which, it feels, is being evaded.

However, the MSOs conveyed to the department of excise, entertainment and luxury taxes that entertainment tax collections can be increased from the cable industry only when newer technology like conditional access is implemented, thereby making another pitch for CAS.

In a bid to up revenue collections, the Delhi government had been cracking the whip on cable operators to pay up their share of tax to the government, which amounts to Rs. 20 per cable home. In this connection, some raids too were conducted on cable ops.

If compared to financial year 2001-02, the entertainment tax collected during 2003-04 (Rs. 69.8 million) has shown an increase from Rs. 50.3 million, but the figures don't match up with the increase in cable connections too in the city of Delhi. In the year 2002-03, entertainment tax collected amounted to Rs 57.5 million.

Excise officials whom spoke to admitted that widespread under-declaration of cable connectivity by cable operators has resulted in low tax collection.

Today, the excise department asked the MSOs ways and means to achieve more collection as it is felt that individual cable ops can be influenced by the MSOs too.

Though there are over 1,000 registered cable ops in Delhi with a subscriber base of approximately 1 million, the figures show that revenue collection hasn't increased much.

Those who attended today's meeting included representatives from Hathway, INCablenet and Trinity. Another big MSO, Siti Cable, did not turn up at today's meet.

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