Home >Politics >Policy >Govt collects over Rs2,400 cr from DTH licencees in past 3 years
DTH firms have to pay an annual fee equivalent to 10% of gross revenue. Photo: Indranil Bhoumik/Mint
DTH firms have to pay an annual fee equivalent to 10% of gross revenue. Photo: Indranil Bhoumik/Mint

Govt collects over Rs2,400 cr from DTH licencees in past 3 years

About Rs816.15 crore was earned during the year ended March 2016, Rs20 crore less than the revenue in 2014-15 which stood at Rs836. 52 crore

New Delhi: The information and broadcasting (I&B) ministry has collected 2,400.45 crore in licence fee from direct-to-home (DTH) operators in the past three years, the government said on Friday.

In a written reply in the Lok Sabha, minister of state for I&B Rajyavardhan Rathore said in fiscal 2016-17, the ministry has so far collected 747.78 crore from DTH firms.

About 816.15 crore was earned during the year ended March 2016, 20 crore less than the revenue in 2014-15 which stood at 836. 52 crore.

Currently, there are six private DTH firms—Zee group-owned Dish TV India Ltd, Reliance BIG TV Ltd, Tata Sky Ltd, Videocon d2h Ltd, Sun Direct TV Pvt. Ltd and Bharti Telemedia Ltd. In addition to this, state broadcaster Doordarshan also runs a DTH platform for free-to-air channels called DD Free Dish.

“No new application has been received in the ministry for grant of DTH licence," Rathore told the house.

Currently, DTH firms have to pay an annual fee equivalent to 10% of gross revenue (as reflected in the audited accounts of the company), according to the DTH guidelines posted on the official website of the I&B ministry. An initial non-refundable entry fee of 10 crore is to be paid and the licence is valid for 10 years.

However, on the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (Trai) recommendations, DTH operators were paying the fee at 6% of gross revenue, contrary to norms, till 2014, when the government asked all six firms to start paying at 10%.

The government had issued a demand note asking for the arrears of payments made in the past which stood at 2,000 crore. The DTH firms paid the arrears in 2014.

“When the business started, we signed up for the licence fee at the rate of 10% of gross revenue, but the operators were paying at the rate of 6% for a long time," said a top official from a leading DTH firm who did not want to be identified.

The official added that DTH operators have time and again asked for an amendment in the guidelines as the gross revenue of a firm includes service tax, entertainment tax and sales tax/value added tax (VAT) which are later paid to the government. “Now, the government is charging these taxes separately and at almost the same rates. We are currently being taxed by both Union and state governments," the official said.

Trai had in 2014 recommended reduction in the annual licence fee of DTH operators to 8% of the adjusted gross revenue (AGR).

“The licence fee in the new DTH licensing regime should be charged at 8% of adjusted gross revenue, where AGR is calculated by excluding service tax, entertainment tax and sales tax/VAT actually paid to the government, from the gross revenue," Trai had said in the recommendations. The recommendations were submitted to the ministry for approval.

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