Entertainment tax reduction, digitisation can curb piracy: Soni

MUMBAI: The Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Ambika Soni inaugurated the 27th State Information Ministers Conference (SIMCON).

Addressing the conference, she said that piracy is a major deterrent for the growth and profitability of the media and entertainment sector. "If loss of revenue caused by piracy is plugged, there would be more resources available to fund new ideas, innovations and projects. Reducing Entertainment Tax rates and digital exhibition of films in cinema theatres can help in curbing production of pirated CDs/DVDs," she said.

The Minister also invited the participants at the SIMCON to define the parameters, which would determine the transition to digitalization. Ensuring switch over from analog to digital with appropriate incentives for mainstreaming particularly the rural areas is a concern she stated.

Industry representatives – producer, director Yash Chopra and actor Kamal Hasan expressed concerns about the high incidence of entertainment tax and the menace of piracy affecting the industry adversely. They suggested that strong laws and administrative action be taken. Chopra suggested that the source of piracy be tackled.

"The responsibility given to the Ministry is extremely complex, as India today is a diverse society wherein on the one hand we are subjected to information, which requires mature handling and on the other hand some segments face dearth of information relevant to their daily requirements," added Soni.

Soni noted that over the years SIMCON has attempted to discuss and evolve appropriate policy initiatives to address the changing information landscape of the country. She emphasized that for the first time presence of experts and critical stakeholders of the industry has been ensured to provide a common platform to all stakeholders to debate and build a consensus on the issues proposed to be discussed.