I&B ministry urges broadcasters, producers of TV serials to clear payments

The Information and Broadcasting Ministry on Friday urged broadcasters and producers of TV serials to clear payments of artistes. The ministry’s request comes after two TV actors — Manmeet Grewal and Preksha Mehta — had allegedly committed suicide in the wake of the countrywide lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Grewal was going through a major financial crisis, according to his friends. Mehta had returned to her hometown Indore from Mumbai before the lockdown and was said to be depressed.

The ministry, in its letter, said the pandemic of Covid-19 has led to financial downturn for a large number of sectors of the economy, including the broadcasting industry.

Prakash Javadekar, the minister of information and broadcasting, had an occasion to discuss the problems of the broadcasting sector with the major stakeholders, and the government is seized of their concerns, the letter said.  The Bureau of Outreach and Communication (BOC) is working on a war footing for liquidating the pendency of advertisement bills of the media industry.

“However, equally important is the livelihoods of the employees (and their families) who are working in this sector, including a large number of modestly paid TV artists engaged for production of various TV serials. While services of such persons were taken, some of them may not have received their remuneration,” it said.

While appreciating concerns of the broadcasting sector, the imminent need to give remuneration to them cannot be lost sight of, the letter said.

“It is, therefore, urged that broadcasters and producers of TV serials may take a compassionate view and ensure that all payments due to such persons up to March, 2020 are cleared at the earliest. This will be of immense relief to them and their families,” the letter said.

The letter was sent to News Broadcasters Association, Indian Broadcasting Foundation, Association of Regional TV Broadcasters of India and the Producers Guild of India.

—Hindustan Times

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