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News broadcasters seek tax reduction, extension in regulatory filings

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

broadcasting industry has sought a slew of relief measures, including tax concession and lower GST rates, from the government amid challenges faced by the sector due to lockdown to contain coronavirus outbreak.

The Broadcasters Federation (NBF) in a memorandum to the PMO and other departments has also sought extension in extension deadline forTDSpayments for at least three months, deadlines forseveral compliances as employees handling regulatory issues are currently working from home.

It has sought immediate intervention by the government to overcome the larger economic, social, financial and business impact arising out of thelockdownacross the country, which is threatening the survival of the television channels.

This extraordinary situation required the government to take extraordinary measures to save the news broadcasting sector that performs a public service for free. Else, we perish, said NBF President ArnabGoswami.

He said the News Broadcasters Federation strongly stands and supports the government proactive measures to combat the spread ofCOVID-19, which has posed a health and economic threat to the country.

The representation was presented to the Prime Ministers' Office, Cabinet Secretariat, Ministry of Finance,GSTCouncil, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting,TelecomRegulatory Authority of India, and Department of Telecommunications, anNBFstatement said.

The federation has also asked the government to waive the fees for news channels on DDFreedishplatform for the month of March and April 2020, it added.

The memorandum comes in the wake of the measures taken to combat the spread ofCOVID-19, news broadcasters are facing a slowdown in business operations and a severe shortfall in revenue as it has curtailed the flow of advertisement which is the largest source of revenue forFTAnews broadcasters.

The measures have also severely impacted cash flows due to lower collections of payments since clients have also scaled down their business operations. At the same time, the operating costs on connectivity and communications have tremendously increased due to thelockdownswhile ensuring the safety of employees.

According tothe NBF, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his televised address to the nation, on March 19, 2020, equated the news broadcasting sector in line with essential services,which is an acknowledgement of the important role of news broadcasters in rendering public service in such a critical situation which the nation is facing currently.

The News broadcasters constitute the single largest genre consisting of 45 per cent of the 885 private satellite channels.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, March 24 2020. 20:54 IST
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