As Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is set to present the Union Budget 2018 on February 1, 2018, the entertainment sector is expectant that the Finance Minister will grant slight relief under the new GST regime of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. While it’s that time of the year when corporate India, businessmen and common man are expecting that government would cut off taxes and fulfil their basic needs, the entertainment industry as well is hoping that budget 2018 India would consider their schemes and make the necessary changes.

FICCI’s pre-budget 2018 memorandum states that many state governments like Maharashtra, West Bengal, Orissa, Rajasthan had earlier announced entertainment duty exemption schemes for new facilities. These schemes were also aimed at those who install the latest equipment like projection, sound system etc. “The tax exemptions have been granted from 5 to 7 years and many of them are under the grant period. If this tax exemption is removed then the exhibitors who have invested huge amount for renovation by borrowing loans from financial institutions may not be able to repay the loans and also to recover their cost,” FICCI notes.  

The FICCI’s pre-Budget 2018 memorandum suggests that cinema owners be “allowed refund in a proper time frame under the GST regime in respect of the exemption committed under the erstwhile regime.” When it comes to set-top boxes, the government recently doubled the import duty on set-top boxes to 20 percent. This increase will have an impact on the ongoing digitisation of cable services in India and therefore, the industry is expecting that the customs duty would be brought back to the earlier rate, making it easier for the industry to earn desirable profits.

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