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News Roundup: Govt Considers Duty Exemption For STB Imports; PVR Expansion
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The government is considering amendments to the Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867, to make the process of registering titles for newspapers and periodicals smoother and facilitate foreign publications that want to bring out Indian editions, reports PTI. This was indicated to a media delegation by the new minister for information and broadcasting, Ambika Soni (pictured right) , PTI said, without giving further details.

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In a move that will bring smiles to the digital cable and DTH industry, the ministry has recommended to the finance ministry that import of digital set top boxes be exempted from duties for five years, to help the nascent industry to grow swiftly. DTH players are saddled with losses due to expensive customer acquisition—set top boxes are subsidized by the service providers. Currently, STBs, imported from China, Korea and Taiwan, attract a special additional duty of 4% and a countervailing duty of 8%, according to this Business Standard story. The proposal is part of an exercise where individual ministries give recommendations pertaining to their sectors to the finance ministry ahead of the budget.

From the BS story: “Among other proposals, the I&B ministry has suggested categorisation of broadcasting as an infrastructure service so that the benefits and incentives applicable for the infrastructure sector could be extended here. The ministry has also proposed parity in applicability of service tax between broadcasting and print sectors, a reduction in the fringe benefit tax for media personnel from 20 per cent to 5 per cent, and removal of anomaly on duty levied on imported films and tapes, a senior official said.”

High levels of taxation in the DTH sector, removal of Fringe Benefit Tax for media personnel, modernizing the Press Act and a parity in tax levels between the print and broadcasting sector were all highlighted in contentSutra’s feature Wish List For The New I&B Minister: The CEO’s Agenda.

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Multiplex chain PVR Ltd intends to invest Rs250 crore in the next 18 months to expand its exhibition, production and bowling businesses, reports The Economic Times. The company has put on hold expansion of its food court business. PVR will invest Rs150 crore in the exhibition business and will add 57 screens across 10 properties this fiscal.

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