Abolish GST from entertainment sector, demands film fraternity

Heads of pan-India multiplex chains and producers weigh in on their opinions after TP Aggarwal, President of IMPAA, wrote a letter to the Finance Minister to eliminate GST to help revive entertainment industry post the second wave of the pandemic
Exhibition outlets suffered major losses due to the Covid-19 pandemic; multiplexes are currently running with 50% occupancy (Photo: Shutterstock (Image for representation purpose only) )
Exhibition outlets suffered major losses due to the Covid-19 pandemic; multiplexes are currently running with 50% occupancy (Photo: Shutterstock (Image for representation purpose only) )
Updated on Nov 29, 2021 05:58 PM IST
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ByTitas Chowdhury

Last week, TP Aggarwal, president, Indian Motion Picture Producers’ Association (IMPAA), penned a letter to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to abolish the 18% GST imposed on the entertainment sector to pump “new blood and strength” into it.

Talking to us, Aggarwal says, “GST needs to be abolished or substantially reduced because the industry needs new impetus to grow as today. Due to non-employment and non-availability of resources during the pandemic, the industry is in a place where it finds it difficult to survive.”

Prashant Kulkarni, Head of Sales, Marketing & New Business Expansion, Carnival Cinemas, asserts that when the exhibition sector does well, the share that everyone involved gets, will go high. “I don’t think we look at GST reduction as a means to earn some extra bucks. If the government can do anything, even if reduces the GST till the lowest slab of 5%, it will be a great shot in the arm. The next logical step would be all cinemas running with a 100% capacity, albeit with all SOPs in place,” he elaborates.

Producer Anand Pandit believes that the abolishment of the GST will bring about a huge relief to exhibitors: “As a producer, if there is less stress in even one link of the synergetic chain, we all will benefit because this is a community where nobody can thrive unless everybody does.”

In a similar vein, producer Jay Shewakramani adds, “Any tax relief which directly enables making cinema going experience a regular feature in the daily lives of people is welcome. With the support of the government, the focused approach should be to make cinemas affordable for all.”

According to Kamal Gianchandani, CEO PVR Pictures Ltd, Chief Business Planning & Strategy PVR Ltd, it’s “high time” that the government extends a helping hand to the sector. “This sector hasn’t just been a big contributor to the government exchequer but is also a part of the social fabric. With the performance of Sooryavanshi, Doctor and Punjabi films, we continue to see green shoots and support from audiences. That said, the past 18-19 months has left a poor impact on the health of the sector,” he ends.

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Monday, January 24, 2022