Union Budget 2020: What is in store for Bollywood?

Union Budget 2020: What is in store for Bollywood?

Bollywood is the common name of the Hindi film industry. (Representational image/Wikimedia Commons)

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will be presenting the Union Budget 2020 on February 1. While the government is likely to introduce policies aimed at improving various sectors of the economy, it remains to be seen whether it takes measures to improve the Hindi film industry's prospects. While Bollywood has traditionally never really been the focus of the Union Budget, things might be a bit different this time. 

Speaking to DH, trade analyst Joginder Tuteja says the industry is a lot closer to the government now, which is a positive sign. He also adds that it would nice if there is a reduction in the tax slab for movies. 

"There is a fair deal of interaction between the government and the industry now the two are closer than before. As such, Bollywood could find a mention in the (Union) Budget 2020. I hope some some steps are taken to reduce the tax slab as this would benefit the industry," adds Tuteja. 

However, unlike Tuteja,  filmmaker Jahnu Barua is not too optimistic. Speaking to DH, the Maine Gandhi Ko Nahi Mara director says he is 'not expecting much' but hopes those in authority take an 'interest' in the creative field.

"I am not expecting much as traditionally there has been least interest in the creative field/arts. Some sensitisation needs to happen. I hope something is done  to benefit National Film Development Corporation of India(NDFC) and Film and Television Institute of India (FTII)," he adds.

A trip down memory lane reveals that there was no mention of Bollywood in the Union Budget 2017, which upset industry insiders. Speaking about the issue, industry tracker Atul Mohan had said that there was a need to improve the screen density from six per million to 23 per million and move towards the China model. 
Similarly, there was nothing for the film industry in the Union Budget 2015, which irked several artistes. Reacting to this, filmmaker Ashoke Pandit had urged the authorities to realise the importance of the entertainment sector. 

That said and done, the Interim Budget 2019, presented by Piyush Goyal did indeed give Bollywood a reason to rejoice. In it, the government had introduced the single-window clearance system for Indian filmmakers, making it easier for those in the industry to get necessary permissions for shooting. The government had also introduced anti-cam recording provisions in the  Cinematography Act and tried to curb piracy. 

All in all, things are changing and many in the Hindi film industry would like the Union Budget 2020 to be similar to the Interim Budget 2019 focussing more on Bollywood than expected.