GST cut may change cine-goers' pattern

While many from the industry are hoping for a hike in revenue.

The central government’s decision to slash the Goods and Services tax (GST) rates on movie tickets by a huge margin has brought relief to film buffs. The GST on tickets costing up to Rs 100 has been brought down to 12 per cent from the earlier 18 per cent while tickets costing more than Rs 100 will now attract a GST of 18 per cent from the earlier 28 per cent. And closer to home, the Tollywood fraternity has welcomed the move. When we ask what the cut means to them, here’s what they have to say.

More revenue for the industry
Producer and distributor Daggubati Suresh Babu says that the decision will help the industry get more revenue. “The ticket price in a multiplex is Rs 100; plus the tax is Rs 28; so the audience had to pay Rs 128 per ticket. But now, that the GST has been reduced to 18 per cent, a ticket costing Rs 128 will cost Rs 118. This means, the amount of tax the producer or distributor had to pay to the government will also come down to certain extent. And this will result in savings for the producer and the industry.”

Audience flock to the theatre
For writer and director Harish Shankar, the decision could bring back repeat audience in B and C centres, mostly comprising of single screen theatres. “The number of people watching a film in the theatres for the second time in B and C centres has gone down drastically with emerging content platforms. In single screen theatres, the maximum ticket price is Rs 100, and tax was 18 per cent. But now the tax has come down to 12 per cent. So this could draw repeat audience in B and C centres.”

Transparency in distribution set up
Muthyala Ramdoss, general secretary, Telugu Film Chamber of Commerce (TFCC), says that 10 per cent relaxation on tickets will bring more transparency in the distribution set up. “We (TFCC) have earlier given a representation to Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and the Central governments requesting to bring down the GST rates on cinema tickets. And we are glad that the decision has been taken. Although several exhibitors and distributors are yet to come to terms with the concept of GST, the relaxation of 10 per cent will bring more transparency in the otherwise complex distribution-exhibitor set up.”

Election Stunt
However actor Prakash Raj feels that this is purely an election stunt. “With general elections nearing, this cut in GST is purely an election gimmick by the government. Will they return the GST amount we have paid so far? I’ll not be surprised if they slash the taxes further on other items as the elections approach.”

Bollywood celebs have already expressed their gratitude to PM Narendra Modi by thanking him on their social media.

Aamir Khan (@aamir_Khan)
Heartfelt thank you to Honorable PM & the Govt of India for considering the request of the film industry for reduction in GST. If Indian cinema hopes to compete in the world market then we need the support of the Govt & Administration. This is a great 1st step in that direction.

Ranveer Singh (@RanveerOfficial)
It’s a great move on the part of the government!!! #AskSimmba

Akshay Kumar (@akshaykumar)
Quick action and how! Within a few days of our meeting with hon. Prime Minister @narendramodi ji, the Government addressed our concern...GST for movie tickets to be reduced. A welcome move for the industry and audiences as well.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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