'No more cut in entertainment tax on non-Kannada films'

The current level of entertainment tax on non-Kannada films also has to be maintained so that local films, produced on low budgets and having limited markets, could compete with them, the State Government said.

Karnataka’s position in this regard was articulated by Information Technology Minister Katta Subrahmanya Naidu at the 27th State Information Ministers’ Conference (SIMCON) in the national capital on Saturday.

Under the State Government’s film policy, Kannada and regional language films are given 100 per cent entertainment tax exemption, while for non-Kannada films, it was reduced from 40 to 30 per cent.

“This cannot be reduced further. The Kannada film industry may strongly oppose further reduction of entertainment tax on non-Kannada films in the State,” Naidu said. “Regional language films in Kannada, Tulu, Kodava, Konkani and Banjara are produced on low budget and also have limited market. They cannot compete with mega-budget films of other languages. It is, therefore, not appropriate to consider the suggestion of further reduction in entertainment tax rates for non-Kannada films,” he said.

He pointed out that newly-built theatres, which exhibit Kannada films more than 75 per cent time of the year — over 39 weeks — were given 100 per cent entertainment tax exemption for the initial three years.

Referring to Kannada cinema’s 75th anniversary celebrations, he urged the Centre to grant 50 per cent of the cost for the construction of the commemorative Amrutha Mahotsava Bhawan in Bangalore.

The Bangalore Development Authority has already allotted 2.5 acres of land for the Bhawan, which will have a film museum, a library and film screening theatres under one roof.

Earlier, during the day-long SIMCON, there was consensus on the need for digitalisation in the broadcasting sector, especially the cable sector, amendment of the Press and Registration of Books Act, and effective laws for curbing piracy right from the source.

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