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Filming can resume on May 4 say sources; MIB's Prakash Javadekar urges IBF to consult Maharashtra CM

The minister has held a video conference with an Indian Broadcasting Foundation delegation earlier today.

Pakash Javadekar, Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India, held a video conference with the members of the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) today. On April 20, 2020, the IBF wrote to the minister seeing relief and rehabilitation package for the broadcasting sector. In a video meeting held few hours ago, the Minister assured the IBF delegation his cooperation. 

A source close to the development says, "IBF highlighted to the minister that a lot of lives depend on the broadcast sector and that it has been paying its dues. So, the sector needs economic relief and most of the discussion was around that."

He says the minister has assured broadcasters that the government will work towards "disbursing" the advertising amount due as soon as possible. And as far as economic relief is concerned, the minister said, "they will look into the matter."

As per highly placed sources who were present in the meeting, the IBF requested the minister to keep the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India's (TRAI) recommendations relating to BARC and the implementation of the New Tariff Order (NTO) in "abeyance". To this, the minister replied saying, "We will look into the matter."

The IBF delegation also brought up the important issue of guidelines regarding the filming of new TV programmes. Sources tell us that Javadekar replied, "Filming can resume from May 4. However, since most of the shooting is done in Maharashtra, an area that's witnessing a rise in the number of cases, the IBF must meet the Chief Minister of Maharashtra to discuss the future course of action."

IBF had made the following requests in its letter to the minister.

1. Regulatory moratorium for the sector for at least next 18 months.

2. Phased resumption of production activities.

3. Extension of moratorium period for GST payment.

4. Mandating Digital Payments of Subscription and Advertising dues to Broadcaster. Advisory to DPOs in respect of release of payment of subscription fees for the period upto 29th Feb 2020

6. Waiver of Processing Fee and Temporary live uplinking fee for live sporting events for a period of one year from the resumption of normal business activities.

7. Increase in time period of one year to two years for operationalization of new channels which have been granted permission.

8. Suspension of requirement of Performance Bank Guarantees in respect of channels sought to be launched for a period of one year.

9. Waiver of Carriage Fee due to Prasar Bharati for 3 months (April, May and June) for FTA Channels on Prasar Bharati’s Free Dish Platform.

10. Deferment of payment due to Prasar Bharati for Free Dish carriage by 31 March 2020 be deferred until July 2020.

11. All pending refunds even exceeding Rs. 5 Lacs should be urgently processed.

12. The 1st instalment of advance tax (due on 15 June 2020) should be done away with and taxpayers be allowed to pay the 2nd instalment (due on 15 September 2020) directly without any interest liability

13. The due date for deposit of TDS for the months of March and April 2020 should be extended to 31 May 2020 without any interest liability.

14. Extension /waiver of permission for FX payments for foreign satellite transponder hiring.

15. Lower rate of TDS from 10% to 2% on subscription revenues

16. Payment of stamp duty on agreements should be deferred upto expiry of ninety (90) days’ from the date of lifting of nation-wide lockdown.

17. Allow discharge of GST reverse charge obligation through GST input credit rather than paying in cash.

18. Extend all existing stay of income tax demand for next 6 months without any new hearing.