Govt looks to cutting equipment import duties; pushing TV software exports

NEW DELHI: The Indian government is looking at giving a major fillip to exports of TV software and films from India this year and also get some concessions to the media and entertainment industry by having the various duties on import of equipment rationalised or lowered.

According to government sources, the information and broadcasting secretary Pawan Chopra is slated to meet the representatives of the hardware and software sector early next week to discuss the issues in this regard as a part of a pre-Budget meeting.

The sources indicated that Chopra's thrust would be to elicit response from the industry as to what all should and can be done to give a major fillip to exports of TV software and films, an area which the government feels has great potential as a revenue earner.

Information and broadcasting minister Sushma Swaraj recently had told that this financial year film exports especially had crossed Rs 9 billion.

One of the concerns of the broadcasting industry has been a high duty regime and the Indian Broadcasting Foundation had also petitioned the I&B ministry to influence the finance ministry to rationalise duties on import of equipment.

Broadcasting Council formation

A senior official of the I&B ministry indicated that work has started on formulating a paper on the formation of a broadcasting council, ahead of the enactment into a law of the Convergence Communication Bill (CCB).

The proposed Broadcasting council, to monitor content on TV channels, would be equivalent to the content bureau as envisaged in the CCB which has run into problems with a parliamentary committee, after collating feedback from various section, had observed that the time may not be ripe yet to have an all-encompassing convergence law.

A bill has to be moved in the Indian Parliament if Swaraj wants to push ahead with the broadcasting council which, anyway, would not have any regulatory powers.

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