01 August, 2021

The Big Budget Flop

Successive regimes have reduced a prudent state to a big borrower

Sanjay Rawat
The Big Budget Flop

The multi-crore Hindi film industry is among the few sections of Maharashtra’s population pleased with life towards the end of March. This had nothing to do with box-office successes. Instead, it was centred on the state government’s annual budget. As finance minister Ajit Pawar read out the budget for 2011-12, and announced that the value added tax (VAT) levied on transfer of copyright of films had been waived. The tax had been levied in 2005 but was kept in abeyance after repeated representations from Bollywood biggies to the state for a waiver; no producer worth his multi-crore banner has paid anything in the last five years.

Pawar, presenting his maiden budget, told the legislature that “the state would have got Rs 100 crore by way of VAT but we decided to waive it”. He had indeed made producers, who do not mind cancelling film shoots costing Rs 50 lakh a day, very happy. Rs 100 crore in VAT from the world’s largest and thriving film industry would easily have offset the shortfall in Pawar’s...

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