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Punjab cabinet approves entertainment tax on DTH, cable connections

The bill, once passed, will facilitate levy of a nominal entertainment tax of Rs 5 per DTH and Rs 2 per local cable connection per month, a government spokesperson said.

punjab Updated: Oct 16, 2017 22:43 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
entertainment tax,DTH,GST
(Representative Image)

The Punjab cabinet on Monday approved per-connection levy of a “nominal” entertainment tax by local bodies on local cable TV connections and direct-to-home (DTH) connections. For it, the government proposes to bring The Punjab Entertainment and Amusement Taxes (Levy and Collection by Local Bodies) Bill 2017 in the next assembly session.

In the proposal by the Navjot Singh Sidhu-led local bodies department — approved in the cabinet meet — it was suggested to cut the earlier tax of Rs 60 on DTH signal services to just Rs 5 per connection per month. And it plans to impose Rs 2 per local cable connection.

No entertainment tax, however, was proposed for cinemas, multiplexes, amusement parks and other similar places. After the goods and services tax (GST) rollout from July 1, the entertainment tax being levied by the state government through the department of excise and taxation stood withdrawn.

With the new tax, the government would witness a fall in revenue from the existing Rs 52 crore per annum to Rs 47 crore. There are at least 16 lakh DTH and 44 lakh cable connections in the state. At present, tax from local cable connections comes only as Rs 10,000 lump sum from some master players, or multi-system operators (MSO), depending on number of connections. That amounts to only a few lakhs, said officials. Now, from cable connections alone, local bodies are expected to generate Rs 37 crore.

It must be underlined that cable operations in the state are dominated by Fastway Transmissions, a firm allegedly patronised by Shiromani Akali Dal’s Badals. Sidhu said the new tax system would give teeth to the department, and a level-playing field to operators. “With the new tax structure, the government will be able to ask them to disclose details of connections, which cable operators were hiding to evade tax,” he added.

First Published: Oct 16, 2017 20:45 IST