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FICCI's road map to boost M&E sector

The road map comprises key recommendations for the television, film, print, radio, AVGC and live events sectors.

The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) has submitted its 'Policy Roadmap for the Media and Entertainment Sector in India' to Prakash Javadekar, Minister of State for Information & Broadcasting (Independent Charge) and the Government of India. Comprising key recommendations for the television; film; print; radio; animation, visual effects, gaming and comics (AVGC) and live events sectors, the road map aims to give a boost to the media and entertainment (M&E) sector.

FICCI's road map to boost M&E sector
FICCI's road map to boost M&E sector
For TV, FICCI has suggested a smooth and orderly implementation of digitisation in the cable sector. It has also proposed relaxation in foreign direct investment (FDI) limits in news broadcasting and conferring infrastructure status on the cable sector.

As for radio, FICCI has urged the government to ensure that the process of auctions under Phase-2 rolls out without further delays. The auctions, suggests the report, should be completed by September or October 2014 and Phase 3 licenses - which expire from April 2015 - should be extended well before the last date.

Further, with respect to reduction in channel separation, the government must immediately accept TRAI's recommendations on this subject, so that an FM revolution can be brought about. More number of radio stations will also mean more job creation and a much wider programming variety for the people of each city. The chamber has also called for allowing news in an unrestrained manner and increasing FDI in FM radio to 49 per cent.

For print, FICCI has called for abolition of the Wage Board Act and urgently announce fiscal relief measures for newspapers. "FICCI is confident that the implementation of these recommendations will provide the 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," the FICCI statement read.

The roadmap for the film sector 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 GST without creating a window for its levy at the local level.

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' channel in Terrestrial Broadcasting Space.

FICCI also congratulated Javadekar on his announcement regarding the launch of a dedicated channel for kids' and animation content on the national broadcaster Doordarshan. According to FICCI, given the vast and intensive reach of Doordarshan across the country, this initiative will - by popularising kids' and animation content - create a demand for original intellectual property in the sector. "Indian kids' and animation content have long been battling the challenge of outpacing global competitors - and a dedicated forum for distribution such as an exclusive channel from the national public broadcaster will act as a boon for the sector," the chamber said.