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Activists Cry Foul as Maharashtra Govt Extends Tax Waiver for Global Citizen India Concert

Maharashtra Cabinet's decision to waive entertainment tax for British rock band Coldplay's show in Mumbai is facing a roadblock with leading consumer rights group Mumbai Grahak Panchayat (MGP) and activist Pravin Wategaonkar moving court.

Smitha Nair | smitharnair

Updated:November 4, 2016, 6:57 PM IST
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Activists Cry Foul as Maharashtra Govt Extends Tax Waiver for Global Citizen India Concert
File photo of Chris Martin. Photo: Reuters
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Mumbai: Maharashtra Cabinet's decision to waive entertainment tax for British rock band Coldplay's show in Mumbai is facing a roadblock with leading consumer rights group Mumbai Grahak Panchayat (MGP) and activist Pravin Wategaonkar moving court.

MGP and Wategaonkar's announced the protest after a state cabinet sub-committee on Wednesday decided that the band's much-anticipated India debut concert to be held in Bandra Kurla Complex on November 19 should be exempt from entertainment tax.

Organizers Global Citizen had sought a waiver saying that earnings from the concert will be used for philanthropic purposes.

However, activists said the concert is a commercial activity as the organisers have sold broadcast rights and got sponsors on board.

Additionaly, the activists allege that tickets for the show have already been sold, which meant the organisers have already collected some entertainment tax. About 20 percent of total tickets were on sale.

Reports said Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) decided to give 75 per cent concession on rent for the venue at Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC), where Global Citizen will organise the Coldplay concert.

The Opposition is alleging that this is an election gimmick by the Fadnavis government to attract young voters ahead of BMC polls and this waiver will result in colossal loss to the exchequer.

The state government does not appear to have ascertained the financial arrangements between the organisers and various commercial entities involved with the show.

Here are the key points:

- Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to attend the concert.

- The advertisements appearing in newspapers by Global Citizen show the performances by Coldplay, Jay Z etc with the name of Wizcraft as event producer

- Organisers state that all regular tickets have been sold out and only free tickets are available which can be booked via their website http://bookmyshow.com

- The performance is to be broadcast by TV channel Colors

- The performance is to be powered by UPL - which means sponsorship monies are being collected from UPL

- The advertisements also carry names of other associates/ sponsors such as Hindustan Uniliver Ltd., Ola, Spykar etc

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| Edited by: Ananya Chakraborty
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