Reliance Broadcast Network has already launched a general entertainment TV channel—Big CBS Prime—in partnership with CBS Studios International in India and two new channels —Love and Spark—are slated for launch next month
Reliance Broadcast Network Ltd (RBNL), a part of Anil Ambani-led ADA Group, is in the process of launching television channels in neighbouring countries such as Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Maldives.
The company has already launched a general entertainment TV channel-Big CBS Prime-in partnership with CBS Studios International in India and two new channels -Love and Spark-are slated for launch next month.
"We have already started the process to launch the CBS channels in our portfolio in neighbouring countries and applied for permissions for down-linking through our agents in the respective countries," Big Broadcasting, COO Ashutosh said. Big Broadcasting manages the broadcast business of RBNL.
He, however, did not specify the time-line for launching the channels as it would depend on official approvals from respective countries, but said the company was hopeful of doing so within this calendar year.
Ashutosh said in terms of revenues, the company expects to do better in the neighbouring countries immediately as in most of the locations RBNL will not have to pay carriage fee to air its channels, unlike in India.
Besides, expanding internationally, RBNL is also enhancing its distribution within India.
"We are currently reaching about 30 million homes in India and the viewership is growing fast. We are also getting very good response from advertisers," he said.
The channels are currently available in India through DTH service providers such as Videocon, Sun and cable operators.
"We have signed up with Airtel digital and are looking at Tata Sky and Dish TV. Even a lot of corporate enquiries are coming such as from hotels and offices," he added.
The company is also working on a plan to increase the number of channels in its bouquet.
"Going ahead there would be many more English programming, music and regional TV channels," he said.
Besides, the three CBS channels, RBNL is also set to re-launch Imagine Showbiz that it recently acquired.
In the radio business, the company has recently struck a marketing and sales alliance with the leading High FM of Bhutan to enter Siliguri and Bhutan.
The government has recently approved foreign investment proposal of Rs45.47 crore in RBNL for up to 20% of the total paid up capital of the company.
On Monday, RBNL ended 0.53% down at Rs66.05 on the Bombay Stock Exchange, while the benchmark Sensex gained 0.69% to 17,823.40.
Among the mega-cap stocks, the highest post-Budget gainers were ITC and Maruti—only because Budget 2011 has no negatives for them. The rest is a lot of hopes
It was a difficult time to present a Budget. Apart from the global political turmoil and the easy money policy of the US (which have caused oil, gold and silver prices to shoot up) the country is racked by high inflation (especially food), rising interest rates, flagging growth numbers and the multiple scams and corruption scandals.
This has created a sense of despondency which was reflected in the sharp fall in stock indices since November. The market was desperately looking for some cheer and finance minister Pranab Mukherjee's Budget speech provided some. Whether he lives up to the promises made is another matter.
The big news that the market reacted to is the promise of holding the fiscal deficit at 4.6%, when the expectation was that it will remain at 5% plus. The FM promises to ensure that the economy will grow at 9%, and he will bring down inflation, without increased taxation, or an amnesty scheme for black money.
Will he be able to walk that talk, or is the please-all Budget just a way to counter the flak that the UPA government has faced in recent months? Only time will tell.
Predictably, the stock market is confused and this is reflected in the way the Sensex had yo-yoed today (opened up 200 points, sank 150 points, soared again to 500 plus and was just 122 points up in the end). For a while it reacted positively to the lower fiscal deficit and government borrowing numbers, the proposal to allow foreign savings to come into Indian funds and also the absence of major negatives. But, at the end of the day, it is clear that the roadmap outlined by the Finance Minister won't be easy to follow.
On the positive side, the relief to marginal tax payers, the plan to raise Rs30,000 crore through infrastructure bonds with continued incentives for subscribers and the absence of any major new taxes is good news for individuals as well as companies. Permitting foreign institutional investors (FIIs) to invest in mutual funds may give a much-needed boost to this beleaguered sector and positively impact the capital market too. But that is over the medium to long term-provided all the taxation and Know Your Customer issues have been sorted out. There is nothing in it to change the short-term picture.
In our view, the Budget is long on talk but short on clarity about how it plans to implement various proposals. For instance, the apparent determination to moving towards a GST (General Sales Tax) regime is good, but it is well known that all States have yet to commit to its implementation. Similarly, the disinvestment target is maintained at an ambitious Rs40,000 crore, even though disinvestment plans for the current year have been postponed-after nine months of a bull market.
On new banking licenses, the policy framework is not ready, a year after the original proposal. Similar promises have been made on the Direct Tax Code, removal of supply side bottlenecks for the food sector, administrative reforms, simplification of tax filing and refund mechanism, the fight against corruption and the intent to curb the generation of black money. In short, everything remains the same as before and after the Budget, barring a few companies that have been hit (like Sesa Goa) and spared (like those in the auto sector and cigarettes).
The Finance Minister has increased the exemption limit for individuals to Rs1.80 lakh. However, the biggest surprise was proposals for senior citizens. The DTC, scheduled to be effective from April 2012, would be worth waiting for taxation issues to be made clear for individuals and corporates
After the bonanza announced by railway minister Mamata Banerjee, individual taxpayers were expecting similar goodies from the finance minister.
However, Pranab Mukherjee did not offer too much relief to individual taxpayers except raising income tax (I-T) exemption limit to Rs1.80 lakh from Rs1.60 lakh. There is no change in the tax exemption limit for women.
Mr Mukherjee said, "Last year, I provided relief to individual taxpayers by broadening the tax slabs. To take us closer to direct tax code (DTC) rates, I propose to enhance the exemption limit for the general category of individual taxpayers from Rs1,60,000 to Rs1,80,000 this year. This measure will provide a uniform tax relief of Rs2,000 to every taxpayer of this category."
The DTC is expected to effective from 1 April 2012.
The finance minister (himself a senior citizen), however, surprised individual senior citizens. He lowered the age limit for senior citizens to 60 years from 65 years and also increased the I-T exemption limit to Rs2.50 lakh from Rs2.40 lakh. For every senior citizen aged 80 years and above, the income-tax exemption limit has been raised to Rs5 lakh.
Girish Batra, chairman and managing director, NetAmbit, said," Hike in exemption limit will mean more disposable income in hands of consumers likely to be channelise into savings instruments and hence more demand for personal finance products. Given high interest scenario, the short term deposits, debt focused mutual funds, FMPs are most likely to benefits. Also high yield is another reasons why individual would put the money into saving instruments than spending. Further reduction in senior citizen age would provide fillip for retirement products demand including insurance, health insurance, savings schemes and retirement homes. Higher exemption limit is icing on the cake. Implications are similar for new category of very senior citizens created with people of 80 years of age."
However, Jyothi Prasad, investment banking, Asit C Mehta Investment Interrmediates Ltd, said, "Nothing exciting happened in the individual income tax (norms) in terms of any significant changes in slabs and no change in rates. This is likely to be a sentiment spoiler for the average middle class salaried person. Therefore this (the Budget) was not as populist as was expected."
The finance minister, presenting his sixth Budget, said that the government proposed to introduce the Constitution Amendment Bill in the current session to pave the way for the introduction of the long-awaited Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime. GST would subsume most of the Central and State taxes like excise and sales tax, making rules easier for the industry and other taxpayers.
He said under 'Mission Mode' projects, the government released funds to 31 projects received from States or Union Territories (UTs) for computerisation of commercial taxes, which will allow States to align with the rollout of the GST regime.
A new scheme with an outlay of Rs300 crore would also be launched to provide assistance to States to modernise their stamp and registration administration and roll out e-stamping in all the districts in the next three years, the FM said.
While widening the service tax net, Mr Mukherjee also brought all services provided by hospitals with 25 or more beds that have centralised air-conditioning. The levy is also extended to diagnostic tests of all kind.
"Extending service tax on medical checkups and diagnostic services would make medical services costlier. With the already existing skyrocketing prices of medical services, this would be a big drain on the pockets of senior citizens who avail these services on a regular basis and have very few sources of income," said Hiren Dhakan, associate fund manager, Bonanza Portfolio Ltd.
Here are the new tax proposals from the Union Budget 2011-12...
The finance minister said, "My proposals on direct taxes are estimated to result in a revenue loss of Rs11,500 crore for the year. Proposals relating to indirect taxes are estimated to result in a net revenue gain of Rs11,300 crore, leaving a net loss of Rs200 crore in the Budget."
DIRECT TAXES: Net loss from direct tax proposals are estimated at Rs11,500 crore for the year.
1. Personal Taxes:
2. Corporate Taxes
INDIRECT TAXES: Excise and customs duty proposals to result in net gain of Rs7,300 crore.
SERVICE TAXES: Service tax proposals to result in net revenue gain of Rs4,000 crore.