“Bringing Media industry under services and consideration in GST roadmap would be sector-positive” Says Manav Dhanda, Group CEO, SABGROUP
Indian Broadcasting Foundation has demand the government in Pre-Budget Consultation with Finance Minister to sanction ‘Infrastructure Status’ for the Broadcast and Content Distribution Sector and also requested the government to treat them at par with the print counterpart in the GST Regime citing the reason that the mass cancellation of advertisements worth Rs 2000 Crores due to the impact of demonetization and adding to that they cater to imparting of not only news, entertainment but also help educate the masses.
Manav Dhanda, the Group CEO of SABGROUP that has exposure across content production, broadcast and publishing, voiced his support in favour of the demands of IBF and articulated his views and expectations from the Budget 2017.
On GST Regime and defining the sector – he said, “From a media industry perspective, I feel that a change in the definition of industrial undertaking for the services industry as well as a push to define the GST roadmap would be sector-positive. There is a landmark attempt in the budget to simplify the tax administration, which should herald a friendlier tax regime. Overall there are some positives and some negatives that can be expected”.
He voiced his concern on Service Tax rates and said, “Not increasing the service tax is a positive, particularly for the advertising and media sector. The general expectation will be that Service Tax may go up in anticipation of higher GST rates”.
While speaking on fiscal deficit, he said, “Controlling the fiscal deficit and several steps to invigorate the rural economy and rural consumption are positive signals. A rural consumption revival will help the economy and the advertising and media sector tremendously. On the negative side, there will an expectation based on what the Finance Minister said in the past, that corporate tax rates would come down. In balance there seems an expectation of a mixed bag budget with a positive bias. If it is able to spur overall economic growth, we could see good times ahead for the advertising and media sector”.
On placing his demands on Digitisation, he said, “Digitisation, in my opinion is the most important factor for the broadcast sector currently, change in excise duty changes proposed for set-top-boxes might help in the last mile infrastructure of Digital Addressable System (DAS). Overall, a stable and positive fiscal situation is good for the economy and that will support our ad sales growth projections”.
While praising his previous year’s budget, he said, “Kudos to the government for presenting a disciplined and inclusive budget last year so the emphasis on rural development and commitment to the fiscal deficit should be the target augur well for the economy in the long-run. The proposal for a more conducive excise duty regime for STBs and other ‘entertainment-access devices’ would be welcome.
Finally, he concluded optimistically and said, “While many of us from the industry are anticipating more sector-specific announcements, I’m sure that this budget will benefit the larger economy and therefore, by extension, have a positive impact on our industry as well.”