THE STATE government has decided to keep its share of entertainment tax on regional cinema tickets priced at Rs 100 and above unchanged after the GST rolls out from July 1. The move comes as a relief to the Bengali film industry, which has been suffering from losses lately. The state government will impose only 2 per cent tax on movie tickets in three regional languages — Bengali, Nepali and Santhali. The same will also be applicable for tickets, which cost over Rs 100.
“It was initially decided that 28 per cent GST will be imposed on film tickets. We had fought in the GST Council and made them bring it down to 18 per cent for tickets below Rs 100. Out of it, a state’s share is 9 per cent. Out of that, the Bengal government has decided to waive off 7 per cent. As a result, only 2 per cent tax will be imposed on film tickets below Rs 100,” state Finance Minister Amit Mitra has said.
On movie tickets priced over Rs 100, Mitra said, “In the current tax regime, the state charges only 2 per cent entertainment tax on film tickets. Thus, one doesn’t have to bear any additional tax from the state government to buy a movie ticket. For tickets worth more than Rs 100, the GST is 28 per cent with a state’s share of 14 per cent. In this case, too, we have decided to waive 12 per cent of the state’s share. As a result, people do not have to pay more than 2 per cent tax to the state government.”
“The rebate given by the state government will be printed on the tickets,” Mitra said, adding that the decision was taken at a Cabinet meeting held at the secretariat on Wednesday.
PTI adds: The Tollygunge film industry, while welcoming the state government’s decision, feared that after GST, the tax slab will still be steep for the local industry.
“I appreciate the 7 per cent rebate announced by state Finance Minister Amit Mitra against the 18 per cent tax on every Rs 100 ticket. It means, we will still have to pay Rs 11 for every Rs 100 ticket. This will harm single screens promoting Bengali films,” owner of distributor Priya Entertainments, Arijit Dutta told PTI on Thursday.
“As declared by the state finance minister for every ticket priced over Rs 100, the hall owners will have to pay Rs 16 as tax. So, despite the state’s move, after GST roll out ticket prices will remain prohibitive for Bengali films and hurt small and medium budget films more,” he added.
Big-time producer Mahendra Soni of Shri Venkatesh films said, “The state government’s decision is great… I am confident that it will help us a lot.”
Actor Dev said, “We must keep in mind that in Bengali film industry Rs 5 to Rs 6 crore is considered as big budget for a film… Films like Chander Pahar with high production standard happens once in a while… We are seriously concerned whether Bengali films aiming at making 20 per cent profit will be able to do so or not after GST.
Asserting that he was speaking as a member of the entertainment industry, the Trinamool Congress MP added: “Already crippled by piracy and online threats, the small window of profit will now be lessened to a great extent with the GST move.”
Directors Kaushik Ganguly and Kamaleswar Mukherjee said GST will hurt the interest of the Bengali film industry.