Mumbai, June 8 (IANS) Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has assured representatives of the Film and Television Producers Guild of India that the state government will support its demand to lower the GST rate from 28 per cent to 18 per cent in the forthcoming GST Council meet.

The Guild took up the film industry’s concerns on GST and other issues during a meeting with Venkaiah Naidu, Minister of Information and Broadcasting, and Fadnavis here on Tuesday, read a statement.

Siddharth Roy Kapur, President, Film and Television Producers Guild of India, said: “I am delighted by the response from both the Maharashtra state and the central government in the meeting, with both the Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting and the Chief Minister of Maharashtra strongly supporting and endorsing our suggestions on various matters of concern, from GST to piracy to screen density.”

“A rate of 18 per cent GST or lower on cinema tickets would be in line with global taxation norms for the film sector and would go a long way in ensuring the long-term health of the industry.

“The film industry is identified as a priority sector in many countries around the world and therefore not only are the tax rates on films usually lower than the national average, but in many countries the industry is also provided numerous incentives to drive growth and employment in the sector,” Kapur added.

The industry representatives deliberated on various challenges and opportunities for the film industry including recommendations of the Shyam Benegal Committee for changes in the film certification process, taxation, scarcity of cinema screens and piracy.

According to the statement, the Maharashtra government also agreed to rationalise any additional entertainment tax likely to be imposed by the local bodies in the GST regime, as well as on other long-standing issues such as cinema licensing for new screens as well as modification of existing screens.

It was also announced that the licensing regime in the state will be removed and within 60 days the model law for cinema licensing will be introduced. In addition, the single window facilitation cell for shooting of films, television programmes and other audio-visual mediums in Maharashtra has been formed.

On the issue of piracy, both the central and state governments endorsed the industry’s views on an immediate need to amend existing laws such as Information Technology, Cinematograph and Copyright Acts to protect the legitimate rights of copyright owners.

This is published unedited from the IANS feed.