| 21 Feb 2024
High expectations for radio in GST as budget neutral to M&E

NEW DELHI: Even as the media and entertainment industry was disappointed that the demands raised by it were not reflected in the Budget 2017-18, it is now looking with great anticipation at the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) for some relief.

While saying that the budget had been 'neutral for the M&E sector’, Reliance Broadcast Network Limited. CEO Tarun Katial said, “The consumption-centric budget will put more money in the pocket of the common man and hence help the advertising and broadcast industries.”

He said that the radio broadcast industry has requested specific policy measures like “5% GST rate, reduction in custom duty for capex etc and we look forward to the announcements when the GST rates are announced.”

Meanwhile, the budget for the Information and Broadcasting Ministry shows that a sum of Rs 40 million has been set aside for supporting Community Radio Movement in India. This is part of a separate allocation of Rs 230 million for strengthening broadcasting activities.

The Ministry had recently announced simplified guidelines to apply for funds to set up community radio stations.

Apart from that, Information and Publicity gets Rs 4059.9 million which among other things includes expenditure for development of private FM stations and Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity for its publicity campaigns through various media including radio.

The grants-in-aid for Prasar Bharati has come down marginally from the revised estimates from Rs 4500 million in 2016-17 to Rs 4300 million for 2017-18.

This includes grants-in-aid to the pubcaster of Rs 3500 million and a separate grant-in-aid to it for the Kisan Channel of Rs 800 million which is higher than last year’s Rs 600 million.

In addition, there is support of Rs 29,967 million for 2017-18 against Rs 27,168.6 million last year in the allocation of support to autonomous bodies for Prasar Bharati. But there is no investment in the head of public sector undertakings in Prasar Bharati, unlike last year.

An explanatory note says the Grants-in-aid is being provided to cover the gap in resources of Prasar Bharati in meeting its revenue expenditure.

(Expenditure on salaries of Prasar Bharati has fallen on the shoulders of the Government since all Prasar Bharati employees who were in employment as on 5 October 2007 have been given deemed deputation status.)

The total budget of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry has been raised to Rs 44,090 million against Rs 40836.3 million.

There is a separate allocation of Rs 230 million for strengthening broadcasting activities which covers community radio (Rs 40 million), Electronic Media Centre (Rs 120 million), Mission Digitization (Rs 50 million) and automation of broadcasting wing (Rs 20 million). This is less than last year’s allocation in this head of Rs 308.3 million.

The allocation for the film sector has been raised to Rs 2070 million and covers the National Museum of Cinema, Development communication, and Dissemination of filmic content, Infrastructure Development Programme relating to film sector, and Mission/Special projects which gets a massive increase to Rs 1100.1 million as compared to Rs 170.1 million last year.

This allocation is for the Umbrella Programme Missions / Special Project includes the following Schemes the National Film Heritage Mission (Main Secretariat), Anti-Piracy Initiatives and Setting up a National Centre of Excellence for Animation, Gaming and Special Effects (coming up in Mumbai).

There is an allocation of Rs 180 million for mass communication which includes upgradation of the Indian Institute of Mass Communication to international standards and opening regional centres of IIMC.

The allocation under ‘Secretariat - Social Services’ has been raised Rs 795.2 million as compared to Rs 703.2 million, and art and culture to Rs 102.3 million. information and publicity get Rs 4059.9 million for various programmes which include Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity; Press Information Bureau, Field Publicity, Song and Drama Division, Publications Division, Photo Division, Registrar of Newspapers in India and other media units.

After seven years in a row, the government has announced investment in the National Film Development Corporation to the tune of Rs 125.4 million.

There is a marginal increase in the lump sum provision for projects/schemes for development of North-eastern areas including Sikkim to Rs 842 million against Rs 800 million last year.

There is an allocation of Rs 30,732.6 million as support to autonomous bodies which apart from Prasar Bharati, also has allocations for the Film and Television Institute of India, Satyajit Ray FTII, Press Council of India, IIMC, and Children’s Film Society, India.