The Information and Broadcasting (I&B) ministry has promised to support actors in the cinema industry and request the union finance ministry to roll back the recently announced 12.36% service tax on film and television actors from January 2013 over and above the income tax.
"We are on the same page as actors on this one. It is not justified to ask them to pay such a heavy tax. Our minister has agreed to accompany representatives of the industry and ask for a rollback," said Uday Kumar Verma, secretary for information and broadcasting.
The announcement of service tax had not only worried actors but also producers as the indirect brunt of taxes will have to be borne by them, making it difficult to produce financially viable films. The Film and Television Producers Guild of India were contemplating a shutdown in protest on behalf of Bollywood actors. The I&B ministry's move may have reassured them. The Tamil film industry actors are already on a hunger strike.
Verma, who visited the Children's Film Society on Monday, held a review meeting with officials to review the work. "We have earmarked a budget of Rs12 crore for the Children's Film Society for the next financial year. We are aware about the paucity of funds, but we have told them that we do not expect films in quantity but good quality and content," he said.
To address the complaint that film theatres are reluctant to show children's movies, he said the government cannot interfere in a commercial process, but ticket prices, which are already less by 30% compared to others, can be slashed further to 50% less.