Just as the Centre announced 12.36 per cent service tax to be levied on the earnings of film and TV personalities, a big protest was called by the South filmmakers
“Cinema is not a permanent industry. The jobs here are not secured. Big stars earn good bucks, but others get normal salaries. How then can we afford to pay 12.36 per cent service tax when we are already paying income tax,” expresses former Malayalam actress Lissy Priyadarshan.
In order to discourage the Centre and its idea of introducing service tax, Tamil entertainment industry came to a halt on January 7, following a one day fast by stake holders demanding scrapping of this tax. The Telugu and Karnataka film industry also participated in the token strike at their respective cities.
Actors like Rajinikanth, Vijay, Suriya, Sarathkumar, Prabhu, Radhika, including Lissy joined the day-long token fast called by apex bodies of film and TV actors, directors, producers, technicians, theatre owners and distributors in Chennai.
While the Centre maintained that introduction of such a tax will curb black money, Rajinikanth opined that increasing taxes would only lead to more black money.
Echos Lissy, “First of all, bank refuses to give loans to the film industry people. This tax will be an additional burden on the producers. This move will rather encourage black money,” further adding, “The government can only charge service tax, with a guarantee that it will take care of the artists when they are not earning. It should be give and take. If we pay service tax while we earn, on our down fall, the government should guarantee us payment from their side as well.”
Meanwhile, a host of personalities from film and television industry participated in the strike which began at 8 am and ended at 5 pm. All theatres in the state remained shut till 5 pm. Film and TV shooting and other allied activities remained suspended during the protest.
(with inputs from PTI)