New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: In wake of the coronavirus economic fallout, the Indian Outdoor Advertising Association (IOAA) has appealed the central government, state governments, municipal corporations, Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) to provide for measures to ease the financial burden on the Indian (out-of-home advertising) OOH industry.

“The outdoor media industry, with an estimated annual revenue of Rs 5,000 crore, could see a drop in revenue to the extent of almost Rs 2,500 crores in the coming financial year. The pandemic has put our business on a ‘Pause’ mode forcing unprecedented losses and impacting the livelihood of more than a million employed in the industry,” IOAA citied in its representation.

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the top OOH body has called for the following measures for the industry to tide over the looming COVID-19 crisis:

• Abolish charging of ‘Advertisement Tax’ in any form whatsoever.

• Waive off at least 50 per cent of the ‘Licence fee’ for the financial year 2020-21. This would immensely.

• Defer the payment of GST for FY2020-21 - to be subsequently paid in FY2021-22.

• Defer all tendering or auctioning activities related to outdoor media by all local bodies until September 2020 and continue with the existing licences until then.

• Cover the cost of salaries and wages of those who have been infected by COVID-19 and who are unable to return to work.

• Declare the pandemic as natural calamity to be covered under ‘Force Majeure’ clause of all contracts.

So far, the state governments of Delhi and Maharashtra have acknowledged the appeal. The IOAA, however, is yet to hear from the departments where it has made the representation.

The body is also working with PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry to initiate dialogues with the central government authorities on OOH industry concerning matters. It has also highlighted in the representation how OOH serves as a powerful media vehicle for public messaging, and that the industry has been unflinchingly supporting the central/state and local government bodies in such matters.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma