Mentioning Uri, interim finance minister Piyush Goyal announces single-window clearance for Indian filmmakers

Vicky Kaushal-starrer Uri: The Surgical Strike (2019) might just become among the most quoted films of the year. After featuring in the speeches of prime minister Narendra Modi, the film has now found its way in the annual budget of the central government of India. While presenting the budget section for Indian cinema, interim finance minister Piyush Goel mentioned Aditya Dhar’s film as a marker.

“I saw Uri in the theatres,” Goyal said, “There was such josh among the public.” The film has become a popular byword for the central Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government, after a committee of actors and producers, led by Producers’ Guild of India president Siddharth Roy Kapur, held meetings with the prime minister early last month.

Presenting the interim budget for the year, Goyal came through on the ‘single-window clearance’ promised to filmmakers during their meetings with the prime minister. The clearance was previously only accessible to international filmmakers shooting in India.

The budget also offered a cut in the Goods and Service Tax (GST) rates on movie tickets. For movie tickets priced up to Rs100, the GST has been slashed from 18% to 12%. Whereas tickets priced above Rs100 will see their GST slashed from the earlier 28% down to 18%.

In addition, the budget also includes a mention of an ‘anti-camcording’ provision in The Cinematograph Act to prevent wanton piracy of films in theatres.

In a statement, Roy Kapur said, “We are delighted that the immense contribution of Indian cinema towards employment generation in the country has been acknowledged and applauded in Parliament during the presentation of the Union Budget. The announcement of a single-window clearance mechanism for Indian film makers filming within India is a significant step and has the potential to play a huge role in boosting tourism in the country. The amendments in the anti-camcording provisions will support the industry’s growth by curtailing illegal recordings of films in cinema halls and will go a long way towards reducing piracy.”

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The terms in the Union budget come weeks after the prime minister held several meetings with delegations from the film industry discussing issues and problems facing the industry.

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