Minister of Tourism and Environment, Govt of Maharashtra Aaditya Thackeray met with an event industry delegation led by the Event and Entertainment Management Association comprising leaders of the events, entertainment, sports, exhibition and MICE industry on 7th February 2020 from 2 pm onwards at Sahyadri State Guest House, Malabar Hill, Mumbai to share and listen to industry views about improvement and enhancement of tourism in the state.
The Minister was joined by Secretary Excise and Tourism, Valsa Nair Singh along with key officials from the Maharashtra Tourism ministry. In the meeting, the Event & Entertainment Management Association shared its vision about improvement and enhancement of tourism in Maharashtra and the role the Industry can play in designing and developing tourism events that would be an economic trigger to generate tourism and build the economy across various sectors.
The recommendations shared included
– adoption of heritage sites, venues, beaches across Maharashtra under the PPP model.
– state partnerships and subsidies for developing new IPs that can become growth drivers through event tourism, incentivize industry, stakeholders and local communities to contribute towards economic growth of the state.
The EEMA presentation also highlighted several issues the industry is currently facing in the state. Multiple licences, lack of online clearances, and a cumbersome process that keeps the event on tenterhooks till the nth hour.
The industry in unison recommended a Single window clearance that is prevalent in other states; a time-bound issuing of licences or a deemed clearance system within seven days; a tatkal system that allows last minute procurement of licences at a fee.
Highlight of the facts & issues discussed:
Multipurpose venues: converting existing venues and making them available for use of entertainment, sports, exhibitions, marriage celebrations.
Standardization and Relaxation of the excise policy for events.
Several issues were raised with regard to GST:
Taxation on ticketed events: 28% tax on event ticket sales needs to be reduced to 12%; and GST on cultural events needs to be reduced to 4% or eliminated to make it viable for organisers and audience.
The Reverse Charge mechanism on sponsorships need to be eliminated; the system needs to change to allow event organizers to avail of a set off against GST. The non-availability of GST set off amounts to double taxation.
Need for loudspeaker permission to be extended on a regular basis at least for non-residential zones. Zones and locations could be identified for extension of loudspeaker permission.
Pre-approved venues with all licences in place should be introduced. Venues such as hotels, banquet halls, auditoriums, stadiums, regular event venues, marriage halls should have pre-approved permissions.
State to support the industry to rationalize music licences.
Currently the BMC charges organizers rental for a month for any branding spaces used in the Mumbai. The industry presented that the rental charges should only cover the days of usage.
The industry delegation also mentioned that the states that follow several of these best practices include Odisha, Rajasthan, Delhi, Telangana, Kerala and Karnataka.
“The events industry is one of the sunrise industries and we would like to work in collaboration with the industry to develop an exciting culture of interaction and celebration. Tourism, culture, internationalization, employment of youth, education, skills development are key areas that would be influenced by the success of the events industry. Our govt is committed to ease of doing business and would ensure that the event industry benefits from the same through better licensing processes, simplification of laws and through utilization of untapped resources such as stadiums, venues, etc. I look forward to working closely with the event industry to build a vibrant Maharashtra”.
The Minister advised EEMA to draft and submit a detailed list of issues department wise and he would bring on board all the concerned departments including Police, Excise and Municipal Corporations to discuss the issues and resolve them in a time bound manner. “Any issues related to the Ministry of Tourism would be resolved by end March itself”, the Minister confirmed.
The minister also added that issues related to music royalties, Music Licensing, GST and International artists would be escalated with the Central government seeking their intervention.
Commenting about the Roundtable with the event industry, Valsa Nair Singh, Secretary- Tourism and Excise said, “It was good to see the ideas and recommendations placed before the govt by the events industry. We are committed to working in a cohesive and collaborative manner to ease out the bottlenecks and ensure growth of this sunrise sector. Maharashtra is the events and entertainment capital of the country and we are certain through positive steps we will be able to bring in transformation of this exciting sector”.
Welcoming the positive approach and aggressive steps that the tourism minister responded with, EEMA National Advisory Council member and Immediate Past President, Sabbas Joseph said, “Working together with the government, we have a chance of reigniting the events industry in Maharashtra. Together we could set an example that other states could emulate and help transform our country through event tourism and promotion of culture and community engagement. EEMA and the industry welcome the positive steps taken by the minister and look forward to continuing its engagement with the Maharashtra government”.
The EEMA delegation comprised EEMA Secretary, Deepak Pawar, Vice-President-West, Reema Sanghavi, former General Secretary Sushma Gaikwad, committee members Harshal Kothari and Archhan Gurtu, National Advisory Council member, Sameer Tobaccowalla, and senior leaders Harindra Singh, Rahul Gomes, Anil Singh, Albert Almeida, Shreyas Srinivasan, Mandeep Malhotra, Deepak Choudhary and Mazhar Nadiadwala. Supporting the event industry representation were Leena Jaisani, Deputy Secretary General- FICCI, who leads the Media and Entertainment industry initiatives and Ashish Pherwani, Partner- EY.