Maharashtra CM supports film industry's demand for 18% GST

NEW DELHI: Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has assured the film industry that he will support the demand to lower the GST rate to 18% in the forthcoming GST Council meeting. At the same time, the state government also agreed to rationalise any additional entertainment tax likely to be imposed by the local bodies in the GST regime.

Fadnavis was speaking during the consultation meeting held by the information and broadcasting ministry chaired by minister M Venkaiah Naidu with the film industry earlier this week in Mumbai.

Fadnavis announced that the present licensing regime in the state will be removed and the model law for cinema licensing will be introduced within 60 days. He was referring to points made on Cinema licensing for new screens as well as modification of existing screens. He announced that the Single Window facilitation cell has been formed in the state for shooting of films, Television programmes and other audio-visual mediums.

The meeting was held at the instance of the Film and Television Producers Guild of India to raise industry?s concerns on the adverse impact of the proposed GST rate of 28%. The industry representatives deliberated on various challenges and opportunities for the film industry including recommendations of the Shyam Benegal Committee for changes in the film certification process, taxation, scarcity of Cinema Screens and Piracy.

On the issue of piracy, both the central and state governments completely endorsed the industry?s views on an immediate need to amend existing laws such as Information Technology, Cinematograph, and Copyright Acts to protect the legitimate rights of copyright owners.

The film industry complimented the chief minister on the formation of Maharashtra Intellectual Property Crime Unit (?MIPCU?) as an initiative to enforce strong anti-piracy measures.

Guild President Siddharth Roy Kapur said: "A rate of 18% GST or lower on cinema tickets would be in line with global taxation norms for the film sector and would go a long way in ensuring the long-term health of the industry. The film industry is identified as a priority sector in many countries around the world and therefore not only are the tax rates on films usually lower than the national average, but in many countries the industry is also provided numerous incentives to drive growth and employment in the sector. I do hope our Central and State governments will look at the Indian film industry through a similar lens in the future."

He added: "I am delighted by the response from both the Maharashtra State and the Central Government in the meeting, with both the Union Minister for Information & Broadcasting and the Chief Minister of Maharashtra strongly supporting and endorsing our suggestions on various matters of concern, from GST to piracy to screen density. We are hopeful that their actions in the future will provide the much-needed impetus the Indian film industry needs, to realize its vast untapped potential."

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