As theater owners protest over the 30 percent local body tax being slapped, over and above GST of 18 percent, for tickets priced below `100 and 28 percent for tickets priced higher, particularly in Tamil Nadu, the radio licensees lament over having to now register in each and every state they have operations in, as against a central registration pre-GST.
However, other sectors are not complaining. Direct-to-Home and cable services are now classified under the 18 percent tax slab. Pre-GST, these services attracted a 10–30 percent entertainment tax in states, besides the service tax levy of
15 percent. Broadcasters expect to start receiving their dues, as the cable operators will now have to declare their revenues and pay taxes thereon. This exercise alone could release anything between `15,000 and `20,000 crore into the television ecosystem.
With the rollout of GST, the film production industry can now avail the benefit of VAT paid on purchase of goods and equipment for sets. This amounts to up to 30 percent of their expenses every year. GST for set-top boxes, coaxial cables, and optical fiber has been reduced to 18 percent, from the previously announced 28 percent.
We welcome Shashi Shekhar Vempati as the new Chief Executive Officer of Prasar Bharati, and his enthusiasm to make All India Radio and Doordarshan relevant to the demands of the digital era and give them a strong global voice.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India continues its march toward digitization. After cable TV digitization, the regulator is now looking at developing an ecosystem to encourage digital radio broadcasting in India. The Authority has floated a consultation paper, seeking comments from the industry on various aspects of digital radio broadcast, including whether there is a need for a roadmap for migration to digital radio broadcast for private FM radio operators. It has also sought comments on whether a date for digital switchover for radio broadcasting needs to be declared, just as it was done in the case of cable digitization.