What’s in store for India in the Interim Union Budget to be announced by Finance Minister Piyush Goyal on Friday? The day is often looked upon with anticipation by the rich, economically weaker section and even Non-Resident Indians to know how the various announcements can help them. The Entertainment industry is among the most popular industries in the country, and naturally, the providers as well as consumers of entertainment would be keen to know their takeaways from the budget.
Here’s what the Entertainment industry could be expecting from Interim Union Budget 2019:
The celebrities had recently conveyed their gratitude to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the reduction in Goods and Services Tax (GST ) rate from 28 per cent to 18 per cent for tickets priced above Rs 100 and 12 per cent for tickets below Rs 100. However, there is a general consensus on the rate to be reduced to 12 per cent for all the tickets and not just those below Rs 100.
Moreover, a streamlining of the various other tax structures and a friendlier tax regime for the entertainment industry would be welcome. A reduction in entertainment tax, decided by the state governments, is something that the industry would be hopeful for.
The announcement of five lakh W-fi hotspots in the budget last year showed the government’s acknowledgement of the current digital growth in the Entertainment industry. Considering the rapid growth, any move to incentivise digital content creators and also to make them take steps against piracy would be essential.
The TV industry got a boost with the reduction in GST on TV sets to 18 per cent and the likelihood of the customs duty on TV sets being cut might lead to more people from rural areas and economically weaker sections buying TV sets.
Import duty on radio equipment currently stands at 30 per cent, and a reduction in this rate will help in cutting down the cost of set-up. Moreover, the radio industry hopes for a 5 per cent slab as compared to the current GST rate of 18 per cent for radio advertising. A reduction in the current Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) of 49 per cent might encourage the creation of more private radio channels.
With newer technologies coming into play amid the looming emergence of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Virtual Reality VR and Augmented Reality (AR), the celebrities would hope for an announcement to boost new technologies and innovations.
Any announcement to boost infrastructure for live entertainment avenues would also be cheered. Any provision to ensure easier availability of more land for shooting and to set up more theatres would be something that would be looked forward to.
The industry plays a huge role in the creation of employment. Measures to ensure easier regulations for FDI and lowering of Tax Deducted at Source (TDS) will encourage the companies and boost employment.
Movies have been releasing in China, receiving immense praise and raking in the moolah, Aamir Khan’s ‘Secret Superstar’ and ‘Dangal’ to name a few. However, only a small percentage of the profits is reaching the makers. India is pushing for a Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership to ensure bigger profits, and any announcement related to this and in the deals involving the release of movies in other countries would be fruitful for the industry.
We have seen cases of movies being leaked within a few hours of its release on the Internet and even digital and television content have not been spared.
Apart from the announcement of plans to set up a single window clearance to obtain permissions, the PM at the launch of the National Museum of Indian Cinema had called piracy ‘insult to your hard work’ and promised to take steps against it, including tweaking the 1952 Cinematograph Act.
In last year’s budget, the government had announced Rs 110 crore for cybersecurity ventures like National Cyber Security Co-ordination Centre. The industry would hope for a similar measure this time around to see piracy being eradicated from the roots.
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