STATES

AP restricts movie screenings to four a day

By Express News Service

VIJAYAWADA: The Andhra Pradesh Assembly on Wednesday passed the AP Cinemas (Regulation) (Amendment) Bill 2021, paving way for the online sale of movie tickets. The amendment also restricted the screening in theatres to four shows a day. 

Information and Public Relations Minister Perni Venkatramaiah said the State has introduced a seamless online movie booking system, similar to the Indian Railways’ online ticketing mechanism, to enhance the movie-theatre experience. Once the portal goes live, movie-goers could book tickets of their choice over the phone or via internet or SMS. 

He said the new system would do away with long queues, unnecessary journeys and disappointment over non-availability of tickets. It would also check black-marketing and tax evasion, thereby helping the revenue department collect GST and other taxes on time.

“The Film Development Corporation (FDC) will maintain the online portal and the financial transactions will be settled the same day through an RBI gateway,” he said. He maintained that the portal would ensure transparency. Later, speaking to reporters, the minister said the objective of legislation was to protect the people from being exploited, taking advantage of their craze for a film or hero. 

“Some are criticising what the government has to do with the sale of cinema tickets. It is the bounden responsibility of the government to protect the people from being exploited in any manner,” he said.
Venkatramaiah clarified that the State would not be involved in the commercial transactions and the FDC would solely be responsible for maintaining the website. 

“The legislation also ends the uncontrolled screening of films and selling of the tickets in blackmarket at a higher price. It will also regulate show timings and ensure theatre managements do not act arbitrarily and display houseful cards. Simultaneously, the revenue to the government in the form of taxes, which was being evaded, will be ensured,” he explained. During the discussion on the bill in the Assembly, all MLAs supported the “revolutionary measure.” Chodavaram MLA Karanam Dharmasri said it would benefit small-time actors, producers and distributors, and avoid monopoly.

The new section — Online Booking Platform in the Act — was inserted and placed after Section five. It reads: “Notwithstanding anything continued in this Act and the rules, no licensee shall offer to sell or allowed to be sold any tickets for admissions into cinematograph exhibition except through the online booking platform of the government company…” 

New rules 

  • The prime objective of new legislation is to protect people from being exploited taking advantage of their craze for a film or hero
  • Film Development Corporation will maintain online portal and financial transactions will be settled the same day
  • The legislation also stops uncontrolled screening of films

Online ticket sale 

The govt is in talks will all stakeholders to finalise the software. Once the software is ready, tickets in 1,100-odd cinema theatres will be sold online on the lines of Railway ticketing system, the I&PR minister said

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