To revive the ailing Assamese film sector, Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma today proposed a slew of incentives, including 50 per cent exemption on entertainment tax, in the Budget for 2017-18.
"There is a general criticism that modern cinema halls like multiplexes are not very keen to screen Assamese or regional films. In order to encourage exhibition of local films, I propose to grant 50 per cent entertainment tax exemption," Sarma said in his Budget speech.
The tax rebate will be available for a period of three years to permanent multiplexes, which have commenced or will commence their commercial operation during specified period, he added.
"There is, however, a condition. They have to give a written undertaking to the effect that they will show Assamese or regional film in one of the screens, if such Assamese or regional film is available for screening at a particular point of time," Sarma said while presenting the Budget estimates.
Besides, he proposed to give a subsidy of Rs 50 lakh for reopening of closed cinema halls and Rs 25 lakh for renovation of the existing and functional cinema halls in order to help the film industry of the state.
"I also propose a subsidy of 25 per cent of the capital cost in case of establishment of new cinema halls. The (Cultural) department will soon issue detailed guidelines in this regard," the minister said.
In order to showcase world cinema in Assam, Sarma proposed to hold an International Film Festival annually in Guwahati on the lines of major global film fests in Goa (IFFI), Kolkata (KIFF), Thiruvanthapuram (IFFK) amd Mumbai (MAMI).
"Assam has the great tradition of making films by eminent film makers like Rup Kunwar Jyoti Prasad Agarwala, Bhabendra Nath Saikia and others.
For this (film festival), I am proposing a sum of Rs 1 crore.
We would also like to preserve Chitraban Film Studio at Bholaguri Tea Estate set up by Rup Konwar Jyoti Prasad Agarwala," he added.
On the theatre field, Sarma announced to establish one State School of Drama on the lines of National School of Drama for preserving theatrical traditions and he proposed to allocate Rs 2 crore for starting the work of this cultural training institution.
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