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I&B minister assures M&E CEOs of resolving issues including GST rate structure

MUMBAI: Minister for Information & Broadcasting M Venkaiah Naidu has assured the representatives of the media and entertainment (M&E) sector that all their concerns and issues would be resolved by the government in a time-bound manner.

Considering the growth prospects of the Indian M&E industry, he assured that the concerns of the industry regarding new tax rates in the GST structure would be conveyed to the Finance Minister.

Naidu was addressing the CEOs Round Table Meeting organised by FICCI. I&B secretary Ajay Mittal and senior officers of the Ministry were also present during the meeting.

In his remarks, the minister said a comprehensive review of the Cinematograph Act, 1952 including copyright and IPR protection issues was under consideration in the light of the reports submitted by Mukul Mudgal and Shyam Benegal. It was imperative to believe in ‘responsible creativity’ where in the censor rules and regulations could be weaved into social norms.

On the issue of improving screen density in India, the minister said that the reach of cinema was limited to a small segment and thus provided an immense opportunity for the film industry to tap the regional markets and to cater to the needs of consumers by developing content in local and regional languages.

He assured that the issue had been taken up with the Multiplex Association of India to formulate model rules for building and operating cinema halls. These rules would be shared and discussed with all the state governments in the upcoming state information ministers’ conference scheduled in December.

The state governments would be requested to look into the matter and ease out the process in order to increase screen density throughout the country.

Regarding grant of permissions to TV channels, Naidu said that the MIB had taken the initiative to streamline the processes and procedures in the broadcasting sector.

He also referred to the e-auction of the second batch of private FM radio Phase III channels that commenced a week ago. 266 FM channels in 92 cities comprising 227 channels in 69 fresh cities and 39 unsold channels from 23 cities of the first batch of Phase III had been put up for auction in the second batch.

Naidu also said that the government had taken up the custom’s single-window project for implementation as part of promoting ‘ease of doing business’.

He also mentioned that the Cabinet had approved the Model Shops and Establishment Act, aimed at generating employment prospects by allowing cinema halls, restaurants, shops, banks and other such workplaces to remain open round the clock.

Adding further, the minister said that the government was planning to set up a National Centre of Excellence for Media to provide training to the industry professionals. The ministry was also in the process to set up a Film Promotion Fund to support movies, including Bollywood and regional films, for participation in foreign film festivals. The audio-visual co-production agreements signed by the government would help the film industry to explore more resources and share best practices. He mentioned that the Cabinet had given approval to the agreement between India and the Republic of Korea.

In his concluding remarks, Naidu said that the government was committed to co-operating with all the stakeholders in all ways to make India a world market leader in the field of media and entertainment.