Friday, 31 October 2014

Bollywood pins hopes on new Maharashtra government to address tax issues

As Maharashtra witnesses a change of guard on Friday, Bollywood wants the new regime to address the issue of heavy burden of taxation that has stunted the growth of the film industry. Mukesh Bhatt, President of the Film and Television Producers Guild of India Ltd, said that archaic laws and heavy taxation are some of the key issues and challenges faced by the industry, which are not only detrimental to the growth of the film industry but will result in its inevitable breakdown.
He said Mumbai has been the centre of the Indian entertainment industry since its inception and this industry provides employment directly or indirectly to almost 5 million people in the country. "However, serious implications caused by the various archaic laws and heavy burden of taxation on the Hindi film sector has stunted the growth of this industry and made several stalwarts displeased with the system," he added.
The high taxes imposed on the Hindi film industry in the state, like the Entertainment Tax on films, applicability of VAT on television production business, stamp duty and to keep local bodies taxes out of proposed GST, have cast a dark spell for the 'Film Guild', he said. The absence of single window mechanism has resulted in systematic harassment and malpractices over the years, and has increased costs for producers, thereby significantly discouraging them from shooting in the state.
In addition to this, the lack of adequate cinema halls in Maharashtra (much lower than southern states) has hampered the growth of the film industry and directly resulted in increase in piracy and loss of revenues to the government, as well as the industry. Speaking about the various concerns weighing down the industry, Bhatt said, "Maharashtra has always been the home for the Hindi film industry. Sadly, we have been made to feel like an orphan in our own home state. Leave aside any support we are penalised for making films in a language which does not belong to any other state in the country including Maharashtra.
Bhatt also said that impartial treatment is given to the Hindi film industry when it comes to the high tax structure, archaic laws and multiple complications, which restricts growth of the film industry in the state.
"We are confident that the new BJP government in Maharashtra will address these pending issues and help the film industry achieve newer heights. "Mumbai has been the dream city for a lot of Bollywood actors, who have carved their space in the history of cinema and in the hearts of their fans over the years. Its time that the entertainment industry is rewarded for all these years of service to the people and required changes be made in the system, as they hinge their hope on the newly elected BJP government," he said.