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Member demands more budgetary allocation for entertainment industry

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New Delhi, Mar 13 (UNI) Mr Rajeev Shukla of the Akhil Bhartiya Loktantrik Congress (ABLC) today demanded more budgetary allocation for the entertainment industry, strengthening of the Film Censor Board and effective measures to check piracy for the prosperity of the sector.

Initiating a discussion on the Working of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in the Rajya Sabha, Mr Shukla said the growth of the entertainment industry was registered from Rs 35,000 crore to Rs 83,000 crore in the last ten years and generated a lot of foreign exchange, and was even contributing to the world economy.

Like the IT and Knowledge Industry, this sector was not getting proper attention of the government, even as the country was producing more than 900 films a year that was more than Hollywood productions, he added.

He said the Finance Minister had not given proper attention to the the budget that was why it was not achieving as much it should achieve. Even writers, lyricists and journalists were subjected to pay service tax but lawyers were exempted from the same. The exemption from service tax had been withdrawn from cricketers and the BCCI also, he pointed out.

Doordarshan had been producing quality programmes in the last ten years and now people stopped watching DD as sponsored programmes had taken their place. Institutions were producing programmes and selling in the market and compromising quality and social obligations, he said.

Mr Shukla pointed out that licence fee for FM radio was exorbitant and FICCI in a report had suggested the revenue sharing on licence fee.

He said there was a problem of TRP in programmes, those with higher mark got higher price for their programmes and the prime time slot.

The cable mafia was also very active in this regard and whosoever paid hefty sums got his programme fixed on the right band otherwise they set the programme at the higher side so people did not reach there and see, he added.

Mr Shukla also demanded the constitution of a Commission headed by a retired judge who could monitor and give right TRPs and for that at least 1 lakh metres were required to be distributed among the masses in all the States.

He appreciated the introduction of Direct-To-Home (DTH) TV and demanded that its reach be widened and a policy be framed for DTH.

Mr Shukla also mentioned the much-awaited conditional access system (CAS), which is yet to take off.

He reiterated his demand for an increase in the allocation of funds for the industry for developing the Bombay Film City so that foreign companies could use the business process outsourcing (BPO) services from India like in the fields of processing, editing and others and infrastructure for the same be strengthened.

He pointed out that even countries like Dubai and Mauritius were earning money from the Indian films for their shootings there and Indian stars were their brand ambassadors.

Mr Shukla urged for effective steps to check piracy of Indian films as the producers were losing on this front heavily by foregoing royalty revenue. The pirators make thousands of prints from one copy and dispatch to local consumers and abroad without paying any money.

He said our Film Censor Board was teethless like the Press Council of India and it should be given some powers to deal with certain subjects for providing clean entertainment.

He cited examples of two Hindi films, which showed some scenes leaving a bad impression on the common man and although, he said, these were for the entertainment purposes, the message was wrong.

The Censor Board should see whether the film was giving any message for the common man, he said.

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