Union Budget 2015: Print sector hopes for growth-oriented measures that boost consumption

From policy reforms, tax benefits, to implementing measures directly linked to consumers, print players reveal their wishlist from the Union Budget

e4m by Abid Hasan
Updated: Feb 27, 2015 8:46 AM
Union Budget 2015: Print sector hopes for growth-oriented measures that boost consumption

Media publishers are hoping for a reformative Budget this time with good amount of tax reduction on import duty and newsprint. Print industry has been affected in last couple of years from the digital wave. On one hand digital is helping print’s content to expand while on the other hand it’s affecting its business too. This Union Budget 2015 is expected to draw the road map for the next one year in terms of growth-oriented measures.

AIM President and Publisher of Chitralekha Group, Mitrajit Bhattacharya said, “Now that the Government will achieve its target of 4.1% of GDP as the fiscal deficit, the FM should go ahead with on-course announcement of fiscal deficit of around 3.5 to 3.6% for 2015-16. There can’t be any better time than this as the import bill of fuel is at an all-time low. Spectrum auction will also help bridge the gap between revenues and expenditure.”

He further added, “Divestment targets need to step up substantially from Rs 60,000 crore last year to stay on course with reforms.”

He highlights that an area of concern for the FM is the Current Account Deficit. “Following the relaxation of gold import in May 2014 on the basis of improving CAD, gold imports surged six times to USD 5.6 billion during the festive month of November. He needs to keep a fine balance between a growing CAD and ease of jewellery import, which is so critical for the industry.”

Bhattacharya concluded by saying, “I urge the FM not to take populist measures to satisfy the recently alienated vote bank for the party and stick to economic decisions best for the country vis-a-vis direct taxes and tax exemption limits.”

Last year the first Modi government budget added nothing much to the media industry and especially to the print media industry but this year hopes are high with more specific demands.

Jwalant Swaroop, COO, Sakal Media Group feels the only thing that can make media happy is purchasing power of consumer. He said, “The objective of the budget is to boost the economy and enhance the economic condition. Once the money is invested in the market all the fundamental issues that are affecting the economy will be solved. This budget should enhance the consumption of core sectors such as housing, automobile, transportation. If consumption goes up in all the major sectors, it will lead to a better lifestyle and media will be happier because at the end of the all the sectors will advertise.”

It is usually known that union budgets don’t bring anything specific to media per se but media players do look forward to measures that are  directly linked with the consumers.

Anant Nath, Director, Delhi Press and Editor, Caravan said, “I don’t think budget does much which will directly impact to the media industry. In the last six months many government initiatives created some noise but nothing clear or concrete came and changed the situation. The government should focus more on subsidies, capitalism and business environment. All these things are directly link to the consumer and help in advertising.”

Pradeep Dwivedi, Chief Corporate Sales & Marketing Officer, DB Group, shares the same view on consumer purchasing power. He said, “From a print player point of view, I am not expecting anything radical and no specific concession. But from a marketer’s point of view, I expect economic activity to grow and revival of consumer.”

K K Goenka, MD, Prabhat Khabar said, "Advertising is a byproduct of economic growth in any country. We hope the new budget will boost economic growth in the country and thereby advertising also. We also hope govt will not impose any import duty on newsprint which is the major raw material for print media."

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