The Telangana government on Monday announced a package to help Telugu film industry reeling under the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao declared the package as part of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi's manifesto for elections to Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC).
Allowing re-opening of theatres, waiver of electricity charges for theatres during Covid period and reimbursement of nine per cent GST for movies made with less than Rs 10 crore budget were some of the announcements.
KCR, as the Chief Minister is popularly known, announced that after reopening, theatres can increase number of shows and revise ticket charges. He said since theatres in cities like Mumbai, Chennai and Bengaluru are already being provided this facility, the government has decided to extend the same to theatres in Telangana.
The announcement came a day after a delegation from film industry called on the Chief Minister, seeking measures to help the industry. Stating that the film industry was one of the industries worst affected by the pandemic, KCR assured all help.
Noting that 40,000 people including 16,000 junior artistes depend on the film industry for their livelihood, he said they were badly affected as the film production and exhibition came to a halt.
KCR promised to hold meeting a meeting soon to issue ration cards health cards to the workers, who work on daily wages.
The Chief Minister said for theatres, the minimum demand charges for electricity will be waived off for the entire period during which they remained closed.
He said that the government would immediately issue an order for re-opening of theatres but appealed to the industry and exhibitors to ensure that re-opening does not lead to spread of coronavirus again.
He said the industry representatives and the government will jointly take a decision on when to re-open the theatres after taking into consideration all aspects, including the second wave of the epidemic in other states.
KCR said it was for the industry to decide whether they want to reopen theatres in December or on Sankranthi. "They may re-open with 25 per cent or 50 per cent seating capacity but they should ensure that all measures are in place to prevent the spread of Covid," he said.
He announced 9 per cent GST reimbursement for low budget films up to Rs 10 crore. The films have to pay 18 per cent GST and the state has decided to reimburse its portion of 9 per cent GST.
KCR noted that Mumbai, Chennai and Hyderabad have a huge presence of film industry. Recalling that megastar Amitabh Bachchan had urged him during a meeting after formation of Telangana state to encourage the film industry, he said the actor told him that with some help from the government, Hyderabad can become hub of the Indian film industry.
The Chief Minister said his government has already taken certain measures in this direction.