Lights, Camera and Tax ‘Action’

The Information & Broadcasting Minister, Mr. Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi disclosed that a complete overhauling would be brought about in the tax structure for entertainment industry in budget 2008-09 so that it accomplishes the real boom and becomes a global industry.

Delivering his keynote address at ASSOCHAM, the Minister announced that he was negotiating very high with the Finance Minister for bringing about huge tax rebates for film and entertainment industry based on the recommendations of various groups set up to suggest changes in taxation.

Piracy has long been a disease for the film and music industry and was eating into the margins of film makers. Previously, there had been many associations and laws to prevent piracy but nothing ever materialized. Mr. Dasmunsi declared that strict measures would also be brought forth to curb piracy in the entertainment sector so that the film and entertainment industry does not suffer revenues losses which currently are estimated between 25-30%

He also announced that the Ministry of I&B would convene a meeting of all relevant stakeholders in Mumbai in next few weeks and finalise the agenda for bringing about structural changes in the entertainment sector so that in next few years, the industry grows to a size o over Rs. 75,000 crore. Mr. Dasmunsi also said that his Ministry would be signing a MoU with UK so that domestic entertainment and film industry and its counterparts in UK can source material and other relevant stuff for film making of global standards.  The Government had already signed such MoU at bilateral levels with Govt. of Germany and Italy, added the Minister.

He advocated the need for removing the film and entertainment industry from shackles of control and regulation so that films are produced at lower cost and can be made accessible to all viewers be it in national front and also on regional fronts.

The announcements made by the minister are seen as a major breather for the industry that needs to grow rapidly to be at par with the international film industry.

There has been a major interest by Indian corporate sector into film producing. Now we have companies like Adlabs, PVR and Sony producing films. It is possible that the announcements by the I&B ministry could be the result of the corporate nexus lobbying.

Namit Agarwal