I&B minister Ambika Soni announces sops for entertainment industry

MUMBAI: Information and Broadcasting minister Ambika Soni gave a ray of hope to the media and entertainment industry.Taking up the case of movie piracy, Soni reiterated the government’s commitment to lobby for the implementation of the Gunda Act in as many states as possible.

She said, "Every state government is being persuaded to pass the Gunda Act. My intention is to punish the ones who violate rights. The problem of piracy is afflicting the entertainment industry and we have to do much more in India than just changing the law. We have also formed a special Task Force, which is preparing a docket on ways to curb piracy. Within the next six months we will get their suggestions. Digitization is a major step in curbing piracy."

She also reiterated her commitment to do away with the additional service tax for the entertainment industry that was recently suggested by the finance minister in the Union Budget.

Soni also announced three major initiatives that have been undertaken by the government to boost the media and entertainment industry.

1) Setting up of the National Centre for Animation and Gaming: The government has allocated funds of Rs 520 million (Rs 52 crore) to set up the National Centre for Animation and Gaming, where people will be trained. “There is a tremendous potential for outsourcing animation content and also creating our own content and story line. There is a great potential for growth in this sector,” Soni said.

2) Setting up a National Heritage Mission: Soni said the government has allocated a mammoth Rs 6.60 billion (Rs 660 crore) for setting up the National Heritage Mission, which will celebrate the 100 years of Indian cinema.

3) Museum of India Cinema: The Museum of Indian Cinema, which is being launched in Mumbai will be ready by 2013, which also marks the 100 years of Indian cinema.

Additionally, Soni also informed that the government has also finalized the amendments to the Cinematography Act. “We have put in some strong suggestions, which will help in preventing piracy,” Soni said.

She also added that the entertainment tax in various states in India were as high as 70 per cent but is now not more than 40 per cent in any state.