Exim policy expected to boost investment in entertainment sector

NEW DELHI: The Indian government's new Exim (export-import) policy unveiled today lays emphasis on the entertainment industry, apart from giving a massive thrust to services, exports, removal of restrictions on exports and making the Export Promotion Credit Guarantee scheme more flexible.

Though the government did not specify any particular segment of the entertainment industry, industry watchers here feel that, in general, it may give a fillip to the broadcasting sector too.

Announcing a package for entertainment industry, commerce minister Arun Jaitely in his maiden Exim Policy address said this sector, which was "singularly handicapped" by lack of investment, would now be promoted by encouraging venture capital funds into the sector.

Suitable tax incentives would be given to the venture capitalists, in consultation with the finance ministry, he said, adding that a sector-specific working group would be set up for this purpose

Aiming at 1 per cent share in the world trade, the new Exim Policy will give maximum thrust to services like healthcare, entertainment, professional services and tourism.

Though VCs are yet to turn their business eye to the broadcasting sector, they have realised the potential of the film industry. In recent times, some big Bollywood producers have been in talks with VCs to fund their films.

Hailing the Exim Policy as a progressive one, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) said one of the significant features of this year's policy was the initiative to proactively address the needs of different sectors as also giving reliefs to service exporters in sectors such as healthcare and entertainment where people now can now use 10 per cent of their foreign exchange earnings to import office and professional equipment, spares and consumables duty free.

Meanwhile, coinciding with the announcements in the Exim Policy, a six-member Israeli delegation of venture capital companies is visiting India this week to explore business opportunities.

The delegation is currently managing over 16 billion euros. Its aim is to understand the current situation of Indian economy, opportunities in high-technology sectors -- particularly in information technology and telecom -- and seek collaborations with Indian venture capital companies.

The Israeli team will meet minister for communications and IT Arun Shourie and member of the Planning Commission NK Singh.

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