The Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF), has written to the minister for Information and Broadcasting, Prakash Javadekar, for the Government's support to deal with the economic crisis because of the outbreak of Covid-19.
A total of 18 requests have been made:
1. Regulatory moratorium for the sector for at least next 18 months.
2. Phased resumption of production activities.
3. Extension of moratorium period for GST payment.
4. Mandating digital payments of subscription and advertising dues to
5. Advisory to DPOs in respect of release of payment of subscription fees for the period upto 29 Feb 2020
6. Waiver of processing fee and temporary live uplinking fee for live sporting
events for a period of one year from the resumption of normal business
7. Increase in time period of one year to two years for operationalisation of new
channels which have been granted permission.
8. Suspension of requirement of Performance Bank Guarantees in respect of
channels sought to be launched for a period of one year.
9. Waiver of carriage fee due to Prasar Bharati for three months (April, May and June) for FTA Channels on Prasar Bharati’s Free Dish Platform.
10. Deferment of payment due to Prasar Bharati for Free Dish carriage by 31 March 2020 be deferred until July 2020.
11. All pending refunds even exceeding Rs. 5 lakhs should be urgently processed.
12. The first instalment of advance tax (due on 15 June 2020) should be done away with and taxpayers be allowed to pay the second instalment (due on 15 September 2020) directly without any interest liability
13. The due date for deposit of TDS for the months of March and April 2020 should be extended to 31 May 2020 without any interest liability.
14. Extension/waiver of permission for FX payments for foreign satellite
15. Lower rate of TDS from 10 per cent to 2 per cent on subscription revenues.
16. Payment of stamp duty on agreements should be deferred upto expiry of ninety days’ from the date of lifting of nation-wide lockdown.
17. Allow discharge of GST reverse charge obligation through GST input credit rather than paying in cash.
18. Extend all existing stay of income tax demand for next six months without any new hearing.
N P Singh, president, IBF said, “The outbreak of the pandemic and the subsequent lockdown have posed several challenges for the television broadcast Sector. With complete cessation of production of television shows, cancellations of live sporting events and scheduled advertisements, advertisement bookings nosediving by ~50 per cent; delays in payments by advertising agencies/ advertisers and distribution platform operators, the broadcast sector is facing the brunt of the slowdown. While we welcome the compliance and statutory relaxations granted by the Government in its latest notification on 15 April, the broadcast sector is seeking a stimulus package from the Government in the form of economic relief and regulatory flexibility so that all broadcasters, especially the smaller businesses can be helped to get back on track."
The statement from the IBF added that while the Government has notified print and electronic media including broadcasting, DTH and cable services as 'essential services' during the lockdown, employees are unable to commute to work because of restrictions. This is halting production schedules and posing a challenge to broadcasters.
Singh added, “IBF has submitted a standard operating procedure (SOP) on prevention/safety measures for organised, safe and sustainable re-start of content production, media operations, transmission and general office operations in the TV broadcast sector to the PMO, Niti Aayog and MIB. The SOP will help the sector to move quickly towards normalcy and we certainly hope that the Government would consider it favourably."