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Tuesday, 24 March 2020 10:33

COVID-19: Industry chamber FICCI requests Centre to help M&E, sports sectors

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To enable M&E and sports sectors fight the effects of COVID-19, the industry body FICCI has requested the government to lend a helping hand to these sectors.

In its report, the body has also provided suggestions to the government for the media & entertainment (M&E) and sports industries. For the radio sector, the report has suggested that the government should enhance spending on advertising on radio for spreading the messages and updates related to COVID-19. Further, the report states that the government must also defer statutory payments that radio companies must make to the government – quarterly license fees, Prasar Bharati fees.

Talking about live events, the report suggests releasing with immediate effect all Tax refunds that are due including income tax and TDS to cover the cost of salaries/ daily wages etc. for those infected by COVID 19 and unable to return to work.

It suggested collateral-free line of credit to be used for employees’ salaries and statutory dues and a moratorium of payback on loans, interest for a period of 9-12 months.

The report said: “Government may announce that insurance companies should come out with products that insure future events and activities against Covid 19 or similar medical/biological disasters in addition to existing to cover the cost of salaries/ daily wages of employees laid off for a period of 90 days at least natural disasters. South Korea has moved ahead in this direction.”

The report said that organizations catering to the news broadcasting services must be exempted from the general rules of quarantine and free movement and from restrictions in performing their duties and obligations in ensuring and enforcing citizen’s right to be informed and updated.

Ficci in its report pointed out that the Indian Sports sector has suffered substantially due to the inevitable impact of the coronavirus. Event cancellations raise a host of practical considerations, such as potential refunds, exchanges etc., particularly in relation to interested parties like sponsors, broadcasters, and ticketholders who may have committed significant money to events now subject to cancellation due to the coronavirus.

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