Govt looking to open up FDI in animation sector, says FM Nirmala Sitharaman

MUMBAI: In her maiden budget speech, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced that the union government is looking to open up the foreign direct investment (FDI) in the animation, visual effects, gaming and comics (AVGC) industry.

“The government will examine suggestions of further opening up of FDI in aviation, media (animation, AVGC) and insurance sectors in consultation with all stakeholders,” Sitharaman said.

For the record, 100% FDI in is allowed under the automatic route in non-news channel and broadcast distribution services like cable, direct to home (DTH), and headend in the sky (HITS) platforms. The FDI limit in TV news and FM radio is 49% under the government route while in print media the same is 26%.

Further, the FM also revealed that there will be no customs duty on capital goods used for manufacturing of set top boxes (STBs). The customs duty on optical fibres, optical fibre bundles and cables has been hiked to 15% from 10% earlier. In the case of Digital Video Recorder (DVR) and Network Video Recorder (NVR), the customs duty has been hiked to 20% from 15%.

Newsprint, uncoated paper used for printing of newspapers, and lightweight coated paper used for magazines have been brought under the customs duty net with a 10% rate of duty. Earlier, the customs duty on these items was nil.

In the services category, the tax on entertainment events, amusement parks, etc and also on cinema tickets that cost more than Rs. 100 has been reduced from 28% to 18%.

The FM today also announced a proposal to start a new TV programme for startups under the Doordarshan umbrella. The programme will be managed by the startups themselves.

“We propose to start a television programme within the DD bouquet of channels exclusively for start-ups. This shall serve as a platform for promoting start-ups, discussing issues affecting their growth, matchmaking with venture capitalists and for funding and tax planning,” she noted.

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