Manish Tewari, union minister of information and broadcasting, aired his views through a recorded video played at the start of the valedictory session of FICCI Frames 2013.
In his message, he chose to respond to FICCI media and entertainment committee chairman Uday Shankar's comments on day one of the conclave.
Tewari said, "I cannot agree with the sentiment that the media and entertainment industry is not only a huge economic multiplier but it also has the potential of absorbing the creative intellect of our younger people as India goes into the next two decades of its economic ladder. It is therefore upon the government to try and ensure that we put in place appropriate mechanisms that try and play the role of a facilitator or enabler in order to ensure the growth of this sector at a far more rapid pace than it has over the past. Uday in his speech had particularly referred to two issues; one with regard to increased custom duty on set top boxes (STBs) and the other issue, in regard to withholding taxation on content rights."
Noting that STBs are largely being imported from South Asian countries, he explained, "It is important that when such a huge exercise (digitisation) is undertaken, which involves a revenue of about four to five billion dollars, essentially paid by the people of India and the multi-system operators, there should be certain tangible benefits which must accrue to Indian manufacturers. So, the finance minister in his wisdom decided to increase the custom duty on the import of set top boxes slightly."
"As we go into the second phase of digitisation across 38 cities, I think it is very important for the industry to realise that while there is a legal contract which backs this entire process, there is also a social contract which calls upon all stakeholders in this, whether they are broadcasters, MSOs or cable operators to sort out the issues that they have because eventually this eventually needs to be a win-win situation for the broadcasters and the consumers. If any section within this large family feels shortchanged, then obviously there's a cause of concern," the minister added.
WATCH the entire video message here: