Industry sees some positives in budget

NEW DELHI / MUMBAI: Presented below are reactions from a cross-section of the industry to Budget 2004.


Zee Telefilms CMD Subhash Chandra:

"The 2004 budget is aimed towards fiscal consolidation with focus on growth and equitable development. I am very happy to see that there is adequate emphasis on rural development as well as on infrastructure development."

"Rural incomes are a powerful driver of demand and should benefit all sectors of the economy including broadcasting and media. It also creates an attractive environment for FDI and FII investments into India.

"Increased support to basic education, public healthcare schemes, strengthening of PDS, improvement of basic facilities for the poor sections of the society like electricity, housing for poor will bring about widespread social development, if implemented well.

"Though I am of the view that instead of levying 2 per cent cess, if the Finance Minister gives 100 per cent income tax exemption to businesses that provide Primary education in rural India, it would have achieved the desired result.

"Increase in FDI limit in the aviation, insurance and telecom sector is a very encouraging move and signals the seriousness on infrastructure development. It also signals continuation of the reform process, which is welcome.

"As far as the television and media sector is concerned, this budget does seem to have some positive impact due to the offset available in service tax against the tax chargeable on services provided by broadcasters.

"Overall the budget is a balanced one without much inflationary outcome."

Star India CEO Peter Mukerjea

"The overall budget is good, in that if the rural sector is able to flourish then its impact on the economy will benefit the country as a whole. As a company that has invested very substantially in India and has plans to invest more, we welcome the setting up of an Investment Commission. However, we have certain concerns. The hike in service tax to 10 per cent and the widening of the service tax net to include independent TV and radio programme producers will have a negative impact on our input costs."

BAG Films MD Anurradha Prasad:

"The government has brought TV and radio production houses under the service tax net, but has not given any incentives for long haul projects like setting up world class post-pproduction facilities. It's the royal ignore," she added.

Balaji Telefilms CFO Devrajan

"The sponsored category of our revenue model will not attract service tax, although from now on the commisioned model will come under the purview of service tax. Having said that, this is still revenue neutral, in the sense neither the production house nor the channel will be impacted by the service tax all thanks to the facility of input credit."

UTV director operations & finance Ronald D'Mello

"The content and production industry on the whole needs a little pampering and incentivisation in terms of import of equipment among others as has been requested to the Goverment at many occasions. Imposition of service tax will defintely increase the cost of procurement of content by the channel inspite of the input credit facitlity and this was quite unexpected."

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