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Budget Demands 2009: Duty Cuts, Tax Holidays; DTH, Cable, TV; Past Budgets

Updated with COAI's pre-budget memorandum. The General Budget for the year ahead 2009-10 will be announced on July 6th, and prior to the announcement, demands are pouring in to help the digital media and telecom sectors. The Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) has asked that online advertisors, online service providers (matrimonial or job sites) and cyber cafes, Common Service Centres (CSCs) be allowed a 5 year moratorium from the service tax net to encourage growth. According to them, this will help grow Online Advertising, allowing smaller advertisers and SMEs reach out to domestic and global markets. (Nikhil adds: In this context, do note that Google India MD Shailesh Rao is the current Chairman of the IAMAI, and Google is likely to benefit most from a growth in advertising from smaller advertisers) This year, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry has requested the government for a five-year tax holiday for cable TV and DTH providers. For newspapers, Ambika Soni, the I&B Minister would like the government to waive the levy of service tax on road and rail haulage of imported newsprint, Business Line said. Considering that newsprint costs are the main expenses for print houses and their rising prices have debilitated many of them, this move would aid many in reducing losses. The ministry has also asked for the reduction of fringe benefit tax (FBT) for print and electronic media from 20 per cent to five per cent, and an exemption from FBT for the film industry. Seeking to make set…

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