Government mulling stimulus for entertainment industry

February 17th, 2009 - 8:10 pm ICT by IANS  

Taare Zameen ParMumbai, Feb 17 (IANS) The government will consider a stimulus package for the Indian media and entertainment industry as it, too, requires attention like any other sector in these difficult times, Minister of State for External Affairs Anand Sharma said Tuesday.
“There is a need for the government and the industry to work together,” Sharma, who also holds additional charge of information and broadcasting ministry as a minister of state, told an entertainment and media exposition here.

“We are talking of a stimulus and not bailout. The film industry also requires the same attention like any other sector,” he told the event organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry - called Ficci-Frames.

On the margins of the event, Sharma said that the government was also looking at hiking the ad rates being paid by the Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity, over and above the 24 percent increase in October last year.

“We have recommended a 10 percent increase in government ad rates,” he said, adding: “We had also done away with the 15 percent mandatory deduction. There is a close to 50 percent increase in the advertisement rates for the industry.”

According to Sharma, the print media was happy with the customs duty rebate it got on import of newsprint and that no further measure was required as of now. “What has been done is adequate. The industry is satisfied.”

The minister also said that Indian films were making great strides on the global arena and the country was proud of music director A.R. Rahman and others associated with “Slumdog Millionaire”‘

“But ‘Taare Zameen Par’ failed to get a similar recognition as it was made in Hindi,” he said, describing it as another wonderful film with some very power songs like “Ma” or mother.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the exposition, Information and Broadcasting Secretary Sushma Singh said that the government was also proposing to lower the licence fee for direct-to-home operators.

The industry has been pitching for the licence fee to be brought down from 10 percent to of gross revenue to 6 percent, which has found favour both with the ministry and the telecommunications watchdog.

Direct to home operators like Tata Sky, Dish TV, Big TV, Sun TV and Airtel Digital have been facing huge losses despite a significant growth in subscriber base and have been knocking on the doors of the government to help them out.

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