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Post industry backlash, AP govt says no final call on online cinema ticketing portal

Faced with severe criticism from different quarters over its move to sell cinema tickets online, the YS Jagan Mohan Reddy government on Tuesday said the proposal was mooted by the film industry itself.

The government was ‘only studying’ the proposal right now and would take a final call only after deliberating it with the stakeholders like film producers, distributors, exhibitors and also actors, Information and Public Relations Minister Perni Venkataramaiah (Nani) maintained.

“The online ticket sale will be beneficial to both the people and the government. Cinema-goers will not have to buy tickets in the black market and there will be no loss of revenue to the government,” the Minister told a press conference.

Nani pointed out that the government earned tax revenue from cinemas to the tune of Rs 40 crore in 2019-20.

“In January 2020, there were two Telugu blockbusters that grossed a sum of Rs 170 crore in 13 districts of AP. Those two films alone should have contributed a tax of Rs 25 crore, but what the government got in the whole year from all films was only Rs 40 crore,” Nani, who is also the de facto Minister for Cinematography, noted.

There are about 1,100 cinema halls across the state with an average seating capacity of 300 each.

“Some bigwigs of the film industry gave a representation to the Chief Minister a few months suggesting that cinema tickets be sold online. Accordingly, we have constituted a committee to study the proposal. We will soon talk to all the stakeholders before taking a decision,” the Minister added.

Referring to opposition criticism that the government was seeking to raise more loans showing the cinema ticket sale income, Nani said it was unfounded.

”We have not yet got into the A, B, C, D of this. How can people talk like that?” he asked.

The Minister pointed out that the proposal to sell movie tickets online dated to the year 2002 when the then state government (headed by the TDP) requested the Centre to consider it.

The intention behind this was to check tax evasion, he said. First Post

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