The film industry, a left-liberal bastion, could turn out to be a supporter of Modi government with the initiative presented in this year’s budget. Finance Minister Piyush Goyal announced single-window clearance for shooting. Earlier this facility was available only to foreign producers. “To promote the entertainment industry, single-window clearance for ease of shooting films, available only to foreigners, is now going to be made available to Indian filmmakers as well. Regulatory provisions will rely more on self-declaration,” said Finance Minister Piyush Goyal while presenting the interim budget for the fiscal year 2019-20. The time spent in pre-production of the films will reduce with this step of Modi government.
Before this, during NDA government under the leadership of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the then Information and Broadcasting Minister Sushma Swaraj classified film production and an industry thus making it eligible for bank finance. Before this, the majority of the films used to be produced through black money of gangsters. The gangsters like Dawood Ibrahim used the films to convert balck money into white. The money earned from smuggling, extortion, black marketeering was tuned into white through investment in film production.
The single-window clearance for Indian filmmakers is also a revolutionary step by the Modi government to support the film industry. The clearance for shootings takes a lot of time of producers and decelerates the production process. “The government has already set up a Film Facilitation Office (FFO) for enabling a single-window clearance for foreign film companies shooting in India. It is a welcome measure for Indian films to take the benefit of the FFO. Most of the permissions required from the central and state government agencies are expected to be received from a single online application,” said Utkarsh Sanghvi, partner, indirect tax, media and entertainment, EY India.
The players of the showbiz industry were very happy with the move of the government. “The announcement of a single-window clearance mechanism for Indian filmmakers filming within India is a significant step and has the potential to play a huge role in boosting tourism in the country,” said acclaimed producer Siddharth Roy Kapur who is also president of Producers Guild of India.
Recently many people from film industry paid a visit to PM Modi and it seems that the visit paid off. Kapur also hailed amendments in Anti-Camcording provisision which will support the industry growth by curtailing the illegal recording of movies in the cinema halls. The distributors and producers bear a loss of millions of dollars due to the illegal recording of movies.
“Goyal has provided a tremendous fillip to the Indian entertainment industry with the provision of single-window clearance for films in the Union Budget 2019. Such policy provisions that seek to enhance ease of doing business will help the Rs 15,600 crore industry grow at faster,” said Sudhanshu Vats, group chief executive officer and managing director, Viacom18.
As per FICCI-EY report 2018, the film industry of the country would generate a revenue of 16,500 crore rupees in this year with 10,300 crore rupees coming from the domestic market. Earlier the government reduced GST on cinema tickets under 100 rupees to 12 percent and the tax on ticket above 100 rupees was brought in 18 percent tax bracket. The move by Modi government to support the film industry would help the film industry and the left-liberal bastion may turn saffron in the future.
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