In a bid to give fillip to the local film industry, Assam government recently proposed to reduce the service charge for cinema halls in the state. At the same time it proposed to raise the entertainment tax on cinema tickets by up to 10 percentage points which may make a dent on cinema goers’ pockets.
Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma introduced The Assam Amusements and Betting Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2016 on the first day of the Budget Session.
The new Bill proposed to fix the service charge at maximum of Rs 12 per ticket, which is Rs 40 at present.
The government proposed to make service charge Rs 8 per ticket for the halls without air conditioning and Rs 12 for halls with air conditioning and back-up generator.
However, there will be no service charge at all if the payment for admission is Rs 5 or less and no entertainment tax either.
The Bill also said the entertainment tax will be 30 per cent compared to 20 per cent now in case the admission charge is more than Rs 30.
The Bill also raised the government tax to 30 per cent on service charge from the existing 20 per cent and proposed to increase the entertainment tax to 20 per cent from 15 per cent for entry charges between Rs 5 and Rs 20 per ticket.
Besides, a cess at Re 1 will be levied on each ticket for creating a welfare fund for film and theatre sectors named ‘Silpee Aru Kalakushali Kalyan Nidhi’. The government plans to mop up Rs 2-2.5 crore every year for the welfare fund.
Later addressing a press conference at the central hall of the Assembly, Sarma said the government has accepted the recommendation by the expert committee of film makers on service charge.
“We are also thinking to make it mandatory for cinema halls to run a minimum number of shows for Assamese films. However, we will have to be cautious about the quality of the films.
“So we are thinking to set up a committee to evaluate films – if they are good and have a minimum standard,” he added.