Friday, February 22, 2008

Animation & Gaming industry in India wants income-tax breaks

The animation and gaming industry in India wants income-tax breaks on a par with software companies to produce cheaper films and compete in the Asian market. Software companies housed in software technology parks enjoy tax breaks on their export profits. Though the benefit ends in March 2009, it might be extended for 10 years, considering that the surge in the rupee has impacted their bottom lines. The animation and gaming industry is lobbying for similar tax benefits. “We have given a formal proposal to the information and broadcasting ministry seeking a tax holiday on export profits under Section 10 A of the Income-Tax Act. The finance ministry has also been kept in the loop,” said Ficci animation and gaming forum chairman and DQ Entertainment CEO Tapas Chakravarti. The industry also wants government-sponsored animation institutions, with IIT stature. “We have also asked the I&B ministry to amend the TV Broadcast Bill to promote local content on Indian television channels. This has been done in countries such as France, Japan, China, South Korea and Canada where more than 50% of TV channels’ animation broadcast consists of local content,” Mr Chakravarti said. According to a Nasscomsponsored study, Animation India 2007, India will need over 3,00,000 professionals in the content development and animation segment by 2008 to cope with the growing demand. At present, there are only 12,000 domain experts in this industry. Nasscom had also made out a case for the government to hand-hold the animation and gaming industry by providing assistance in manpower development and infrastructure. The animation market in India is estimated at $285 million and is expected to grow to around $1 billion by 2010. India is turning out to be a hub for outsourcing post production work, thanks to the growing market and lower overhead costs. According to a CII-AT Kearney study, the cost of making a full length movie in India is around $15-25 million compared to $100-125 million in the US. The industry apprehends that India may lose this advantage if it does not build a vast talent pool. ( courtesy ET)

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