Budget 2021: Entertainment industry disappointed as government provides no relief

The entertainment industry had expected tax relief, increased credit tops, and internet for all from Budget 2021. However, players were disappointed when FM Nirmala Sitharamn missed mentioning the industry during her speech on Monday.
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For most parts of 2020, the outdoor entertainment industry — movie theatres, amusement parks, and cinema halls — had to shut down to curb the spread of COVID-19. While the digital entertainment industry and OTT thrived, traditional players had their most challenging year. 

Thus, it is no surprise that players in the entertainment industry had high expectations from the Budget. As earlier reported by YourStory Media, the industry expected tax relief, increased credit tops and faster rollout of 5G, and internet for all. 

Puneet Singh, Filmmaker and Co-founder of Clapstem Entertainment, said:

“Backed by largest cinema hubs in the world and passionate cinema-goers, the Indian Film industry is a multi-billion-rupee industry. With the onset of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, though it has impacted the Indian Film Industry in terms of conducting shoots, releasing in theatres, a positive has been that fact that the film releases have moved to the virtual world, making a mark into an already booming streaming market.

"Despite this, the fact remains that the Indian Film Industry has been hit badly due to pandemic and survival has become challenging for the entertainment industry. The industry has had immense contribution to the growing Indian economy and creates a direct impact in adding total revenue of the combined industry Rs 199 crore in FY 20 as per reports as a total media and entertainment (M&E) industry revenue. 

"Apart from creating a direct revenue impact, the Indian Film Industry also contributes significantly to social, cultural, political transformative changes. Look at the employment we create and add value to the hospitality and tourism industry too.”

The entertainment industry was hoping for policy reforms that would bring down the Goods and Services Tax (GST) slab, introduce grants and subsidies, and provide more flexibility in operations, creating better infrastructure for the industry. 

Image source: Shutterstock

On January 31, a day before the Budget, Prakash Javedkar, Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting, announced that movie theatres would be allowed to operate in full occupancy, with effect from February 1.

While this was good news for the entertainment industry, players, especially in the Indian movie industry, were disappointed when Financial Minister Nirmala Sitharamn missed mentioning the entertainment industry at the Budget. 

"We were expecting our honourable FM to speak on the events and entertainment industry but there were no views on the same. Hoping we get the details through a press release later...We expect a deduction in tax rates on the industry," says Pawan Chawla, Director of P&M Movies Pvt Ltd. 

Ashish Hemrajani, Founder & CEO, BookMyShow

Ashish Hemrajani, Founder and CEO, BookMyShow, said, “The entertainment ecosystem, the world over, remains the key stone for travel, tourism and hospitality industries which are growth engines for any economy and have been the worst-hit through the pandemic. Budget 2021 did not address the long-pending relief measures for the media and entertainment industry by way of easing infrastructure roadblocks and rationalising the extremely high GST rates on live entertainment with that levied on cinema...While Budget 2021 marks a positive step in the direction of sustained growth, we hope the government will provide some fillip to the entertainment industry that is a significant contributor to the aspiration of a $5 trillion economy, enabling employment opportunities, adding significant heft to the country’s growth."

 


For YourStory's multimedia coverage of Budget 2021, visit YourStory's Budget 2021 page or budget.yourstory.com.

Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta

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