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Dish TV urges FinMin to ease multi-layered tax on DTH industry

MUMBAI: Dish TV, the leading direct-to-home (DTH) player of the country, has appealed to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to look into the long-pending matter of multiple taxation on the DTH industry.

In an appeal in a business daily on Thursday, Dish TV urged the minister to alleviate the ‘crushing burden’ of multi-layered taxation. It said that this taxation is killing an industry, which provides an ‘essential and affordable service’ to the common man.

Listing out all the taxes that the industry is subjected to, including entertainment and service tax, it appealed to the minister to provide relief from the burdensome twain.

It suggested that the DTH industry should be allowed abatement in service tax to the extent of entertainment tax paid, or 60 per cent of the service tax (whichever is lower). “This will allow the DTH industry to survive and continue to provide essential information and entertainment service to the common man,” read the appeal.

Dish TV CEO RC Venkateish said that Dish TV is seeking a meeting with the minister. “We have been asking for rationalisation of taxes for a long time. We have requested the finance minister for a meeting.”

As of now, apart from 10 per cent licence fee, the DTH players have to pay 12.36 per cent service tax (to the Centre) and entertainment tax as high as 33 per cent in different states.

The situation is that the average tax that a DTH player pays is almost 30 per cent; in some states it goes as high as 50 per cent.

Dish TV urged that the DTH industry has made investments of over Rs 25,000 crore  (Rs 250 billion) collectively, but the entire industry is still bleeding with no operator making money despite being in business for over 10 years.

It must be mentioned that no other service provider in the country is liable for both entertainment and service tax. The appeal also said that the DTH industry has revolutionised entertainment and information for the common man reaching far-off areas in the country where no other source of entertainment and information exists. DTH has brought transparency and tax revenues to the government which was impossible to ascertain and collect in the old analogue regime, it added.