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Entertainment duty on DTH gets Assembly clearance
The Congress today accused the ruling alliance of trying to further monopolise the cable television network in the state by imposing additional tax on direct-to-home (DTH) services.

Urging the state government to reconsider the Bill that would make DTH costlier by levy of entertainment duty, Congress MLA Sukhpal Singh Khaira said imposition of the tax on DTH will curb the freedom of expression. The tax, when levied, will generate an income of around Rs 15 crore for the state annually.

Khaira said the government should not discourage the DTH services in a bid to promote cable network which is monopolised by operators patronised by ruling politicians. Nearly 90 per cent of the connections in the state are cable networks, he said. “If the government wants to mobilise resources then it should have imposed on the cable network and not DTH,” Khaira said.

In his reply, Cabinet minister Adesh Partap Singh Kairon, who introduced the bill in the House, said the government was already collecting taxes from the cable operators. “There was no tax on the DTH service in the state... now it has been decided to levy entertainment duty on the service,” he said. This will generate an additional revenue of Rs 15 crore per annum to the state exchequer, he added.

He said the government was also considering to impose tax on telephone towers. MLA Jasjit Singh, son of former SAD minister Capt Kanwaljit Singh, spoke on the floor of the House for the first time during the budget session.

“The rates of petrol and diesel also increase periodically. But has it stopped anyone from using their vehicles?” he said.

Three bills passed

The Punjab Vidhan Sabha cleared three bills by a voice vote on Friday. The House passed the Punjab Value Added Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2010, and the Punjab Value Added Tax (Second Amendment) Bill, 2010, without any discussion. These two bills deal with surcharge on VAT and increasing the VAT to 5 per cent. The Punjab Entertainment Duty (Amendment) Bill, 2010, which provides for entertainment duty on DTH was also passed by the House. The government hopes to generate an additional revenue Rs 1,500 crore by way of these three taxes.

Source: The Indian Express

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