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The Punjab cabinet, led by chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh, on Fridayy approved the levy of an entertainment tax by urban and rural local bodies on DTH and local cable connections, an official spokesperson said today.
The government proposes to bring a new legislation in this regard in the next session of the Vidhan Sabha where it has a two-thirds majority.
These local bodies will be eligible to impose and collect a nominal entertainment tax of Rs 5 per DTH connection and Rs 2 per local cable connection per month with the enactment of 'The Punjab Entertainments & Amusements Taxes (Levy & Collection by Local Bodies) Bill 2017', said the spokesperson.
Local Bodies minister Navjot Singh Sidhu told the cabinet that the nominal tax would ensure accountability on the part of cable operators.
With the new tax structure in place, the government would be able to ask them to disclose details of connections, which they have so far been prone to hiding in order to evade tax, said Sidhu.
The move follows a proposal mooted by the local government department, allowing all the urban local bodies and gram panchayats to levy such a tax. However, no entertainment tax has been proposed for cinemas, multiplexes, amusement parks etc.
With nearly 16 lakh DTH and 44 lakh cable connections in the state, the local bodies are expected to earn annual income of Rs 45-47 crore following the imposition of the tax, which is likely to mop up Rs 9.60 crore and Rs 36.96 crore respectively from the two segments.
Sidhu had been vociferously speaking against the "cable mafia" and pitching for level playing field while accusing the previous SAD-BJP regime of sheltering the private multi system operators in cable business.
After the introduction of GST with effect from July 1, 2017, entertainment tax being levied and collected by the state government through the department of excise & taxation stands withdrawn.
The power of levying entertainment tax has now been conferred on the panchayats and municipalities through amendment in entry 62 of the State list in the seventh schedule of the Constitution of India.