Punjab govt likely to charge Rs 50 as entertainment tax per cable TV, DTH connection

MUMBAI: The Punjab government is planning to charge Rs 50 as entertainment tax per television for cable TV and direct-to-home (DTH) connections.

The state government’s local bodies department, headed by cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sindhu, has decided to impose Rs 50 as entertainment tax per TV for cable and DTH connection, Hindustan Times has reported. This will help the department mop up a revenue of Rs 400 crore annually, which will help fill the empty coffers of urban local bodies (ULBs) and panchyats.

The move will impact the cable TV networks operating in the state of Punjab, including the dominant multi-system operator (MSO) Fastway Transmission and the direct-to-home (DTH) service providers.

The proposal in this regard will be tabled in the next cabinet meeting, HT reported. Sidhu, while responding to a question by Congress MLA Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa in the budget session of the assembly earlier this month, had said that cable operators, particularly Fastway, are not paying any tax to the government.

As of now, cable operators are paying a fee of only Rs 15,000 per year to local bodies. This is irrespective of the number of connections they are having. “We will pass the entertainment tax to customers,” HT quoted a cable operator as saying.

Additional chief secretary (local bodies) Satish Chandra recently held a meeting with Fastway Transmission and other DTH TV operators, HT reported.

“In the meeting, I briefed the cable and DTH operators about the modalities of the tax to be collected. The MSOs and DTH operators will collect the tax and pass it to respective ULBs and the panchyat department. The revenue will be used by civic bodies,” HT quoted Chandra as saying.

While DTH has nearly 16 lakh connections, Fastway claims to have 22 lakh cable connections in Punjab, Chandra told HT. “The actual figure is much bigger; thus, we have started the process to collect data from every home to calculate the real number. We are expecting the actual number of TVs having cable/DTH service to be above 60 lakh,” Chandra further stated.

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