Tata Sky demands relaxation in FDI, 5-yr tax holiday for DTH sector

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New Delhi, Nov 4 (UNI) Leading direct-to-home (DTH) television service provider Tata Sky today urged the government to relax the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) norms, reduction in license fee and a five-year tax holiday to this industry.

''This (DTH) industry is under a burdensome tax structure.

Right now, the consumer has to pay service tax to the central government and entertainment tax to state governments, which is leading to double taxation and a burdensome tax structure for consumers,'' Tata Sky CEO and Managing Director Vikram Kaushik told reporters on the sidelines of a conference here.

''There should be a tax holiday for DTH industry for the next five years,'' he added.

Mr Kaushik said the DTH players have to pay a huge license fee to the government, ''which need to be rationalised'' for increasing the penetration of this service.

''The estimate is that DTH market in India is expected to multiply seven times to about 40 million subscribers by 2015, out of a total of 165 million pay TV households in India,'' he said.

He demanded the government for a level playing field with the cable and CAS rollout.

CAS providers get pay channels at cheaper rates because of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) guidelines, while DTH providers do not get an option for that, he added.

According to the TRAI directive, CAS providers pay Rs 15 per channel, while DTH providers pay Rs 20 for the same channel.

Mr Kaushik said the government should even increase the FDI to 75 per cent from current 49 per cent (of which 20 per cent is through the FDI route and 29 per cent via FII).

He said the DTH industry plans to come together to press for their demands.

''Nothing concrete has started yet, but we may certainly do it,'' he added.


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