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FICCI recommends implementation of DAS, liberalising FDI in news

NEW DELHI: The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) has submitted a road map to Minister of State for Information & Broadcasting Prakash Javadekar for boosting the media and entertainment (M&E) industry.

Containing recommendations for film, television, print and radio sectors, the road map is aimed at fostering holistic strong growth of the industry.

Among other suggestions, the industry body has recommended smooth and orderly implementation of digitisation in the cable sector, liberalising foreign direct investment (FDI) limits in news broadcasting and infrastructure in the cable sector.

For the film industry, the policy road map calls for enactment of the Cinematograph Bill, constitution of a task force for improving screen density in India and ensuring that entertainment tax is fully subsumed in the Goods and Services Tax without creating a window for its levy at the local level.

When it comes to FM radio, the list is bigger. FICCI has urged the government to ensure that the Phase III auctions roll out smoothly, without any further delay. The auctions should be completed by September/October 2014 and Phase II licenses that expire in April 2015 should be extended well before the last date. Also, with respect to reduction in channel separation, the road map suggested that the government immediately accept the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) recommendations on this subject so that an FM revolution can be brought about.

FICCI has also asked for allowing news in an unrestrained manner and raising FDI in FM radio to 49 per cent from the current 26 per cent.

For the print media, the industry body has called for abolition of the Wage Board Act and exhorted the government to urgently announce fiscal relief measures for newspapers, reported the PTI.

Meanwhile, for the animation, visual effects, gaming and comics (AVGC) sector, it has recommended creation of an investment fund; incubation and market development fund; tax relief; skills and talent development; co-production treaties, and focus on kids channels in terrestrial broadcasting space.

“We are confident that the implementation of these recommendations will provide a much-needed boost to the media and entertainment sector, which has tremendous potential for dynamic growth and multiplier effect on employment generation without much spending from the public exchequer,” FICCI president Sidharth Birla was quoted as saying to PTI.