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Union Budget 2023: Animation, VFX and comic industry share their thoughts

The Union Budget 2023 is out and the people belonging to the AVGC sector had their full attention to the speech only to find out that there’s nothing concrete being spoken about the AVGC sector in the budget despite a draft policy being submitted by the AVGC Task Force at the end of last year.

The government did place an emphasis on setting up three centres of excellence (COEs) for Artificial Intelligence which could indirectly give a boost to the AVGC-XR industry. Apart from that in the budget speech union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman prioritised skilling through National Education Policy (NEP) and ‘Youth Power’.

Here’s what people from the animation, VFX and comic sector have to say about the Union Budget 2023:

Anibrain founder and CEO Jesh Krishna Murthy who is also a member of the AVGC Task Force is optimistic about the Budget laying focus on AI and robotics.

“The emphasis on AI and robotics is a great idea and point of focus for India. There is no industry which won’t be transformed by AI including the AVGC sector and if we can lead on the art and creativity front and also control the AI side of things, we will have built well on the platform which has been created by the AVGC industry,” said Krishna Murthy.

Toonz Media Group chief executive officer P Jayakumar said, “The excitement created by the AVGC Task Force report led us to believe that the majority of the recommendations will take shape and get implemented after the budget. But it is surprising to see that there is not much for the AVGC industry in this budget. Policy intervention and government support are much required for this high potential industry to move forward.”

Ssoftoons COO Hansa Mondal said, “The Union Budget 2023–24 is a purely development-focused budget that recognises the need for technology-focused upskilling and development, with support in building visibility across industries, especially in creative fields for artisans, start-ups, tribal entrepreneurs and women-led handicrafts sector, for driving visibility. With the rising use of animation in brand communication for the digital platform, this is a welcome opportunity. Additionally, with a thrust on building AI, IoT and other emerging tech capabilities, in alignment with the upcoming 5G environment, offers a promising environment for the growth of the animation and media segment. Coupled with a constructive focus on upskilling and building a grow digitally inclusive business environment, the Union Budget offers ample opportunity for the growth of animation and its role in the advertising, marketing, media, banking and education segments”

Abhijeet Kini Studios founder Abhijeet Kini said, “I think this budget is a welcome one. Mainly due to the income tax slabs, a lot of young new freelancers and small businesses will find their economics changing for the better. Also, the usage of PAN as a single identifier will be helpful.”

Fenil Comics owner Fenil Sherdiwala said, “Our animation, gaming and comics industry is growing more and more day after day. Even in the last three years, we tied up with some foreign publishers to publish their titles in India in Indian languages. Now the government’s concentration with the new budget is completely on the taxation of online gaming. No special surprises for the Indian comics industry. For me, it was an average budget.”

Vimanika Comics founder Karan Vir Arora said, “The budget is positive and overall has a good system growth. The tax rebate increased to seven lakhs is a big relief for the common man.

Mainly the government is creating an environment for investment as they are encouraging and garnering more support for the start-ups, the tax audit has increased from two crores to three crores for the start-ups. For professionals like lawyers, artists and others who provide services, the budget is special because the government has now given relaxations to them. As the government has reduced import duty on LED screens, this decision will indirectly give an overall boost to all industries including our AVGC industry. 

In future, I think the government can do much more for the AVGC industry, specifically in terms of more tax rebates, and more relief in audits and on the products used in our industry. The government is inching towards our industry slowly but it is doing it and that is progressive and a long-term foundation for positive growth.”

Charuvi Design Labs director and executive producer Aditya Singhal said, “The Union Budget 2023-24 is purely a welcoming opportunity for the AVGC sector. AI is an interesting field and may become a game changer in the short term itself. India significantly has high potential to become a global hub. With the rising use of animation in brand communication for the digital platform and the attention towards the gaming industry, India’s AVGC sector can provide opportunities to harness talent, support allied industries, and create employment opportunities for youth.

While the PM Vishwa Karma Kaushal Samman seems like a great scheme, it would greatly assist the craftsmen and artisans if they could also undergo digital design training. This allows them to improve their crafts tremendously. The skill India will indirectly give a boost to the AVGC sector too, giving us a remarkable pool of talented and skilled professionals. The emphasis on AI and robotics is a progressive idea for the country. It is very encouraging to see the government focusing more on this.”