Cabinet approves Rs. 1054.52 cr scheme for Prasar Bharti, amendment to Cinematograph Act

MUMBAI: The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given its approval to the proposal of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) regarding Prasar Bharati’s ‘Broadcasting Infrastructure and Network Development’ scheme at a cost of Rs. 1054.52 crore for three years from 2017-18 to 2019-20.

Out of Rs. 1054.52 crore, an amount of Rs. 435.04 crore is approved for the continuing schemes of All India Radio (AIR) and an amount of Rs 619.48 Crore is approved for the schemes of Doordarshan.

The ministry said that the continuing schemes of AIR and Doordarshan are at different stages of implementation and are scheduled to be completed in phases.

Provisions have been kept for modernisation of existing equipment/facilities in studios which are essential to sustain the ongoing activities and also for High Definition Television (HDTV) transmitters at Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, and Kolkata.

Setting up of Digital Terrestrial Transmitters (DTTs) at 19 locations and Digitization of Studios at 39 locations, DSNG (Digital Satellite News Gathering) Vans at 15 locations and Upgradation of Earth Stations at 12 locations have also been approved.

The cabinet also approved the launch of DD Arun Prabha Channel from Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh to fulfill the aspirations of people of North East Region.

In addition to this, 1,50,000 direct to home (DTH) sets have been approved for distribution in different states in the country which will help people in the border, remote, tribal and LWE areas to watch Doordarshan’s DTH programmes.

For AIR, the scheme provides for FM expansion at 206 places, digitalisation of studios at 127 places are envisaged. FM expansion programme will benefit 13% additional population of the country to listen to the AIR programmes. Besides 10 KW FM transmitters would be set up along Indo-Nepal Border while 10KW FM transmitters would be set up in J&K Border. These will significantly improve the Radio and TV coverage along the border areas.

The union cabinet has also approved the MIB’s proposal for introducing the Cinematograph Amendment Bill, 2019 to amend to the Cinematograph Act, 1952. The Bill aims to tackle Films piracy by including the penal provisions for unauthorised camcording and duplication of films. In order to tackle the menace of film piracy, the Amendments provide for insertion of new Section 6AA for the prohibition of unauthorised recording.

The following section shall be inserted after Section 6A of the Cinematograph Act, 1952.

6AA: “Notwithstanding any law for the time being in force, no person shall without the written authorization of the author be permitted to use any audiovisual recording device to knowingly make or transmit or attempt to make or transmit or abet the making or transmission of a copy of a film or a part thereof.”

Amendment in Section 7 to introduce Penal Provisions for violating provisions of section 6AA: In section 7 of the principal Act, after subsection 1 the following subsection (1A) shall be inserted:

“If any person contravenes the provisions of section 6AA, he shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 3 years or with fine which may extend to 10 lakh rupees or with both.”

The ministry said that the proposed amendments would increase industry revenues, boost job creation, fulfill important objectives of India’s National IP policy and will give relief against piracy and infringing content online.

The medium of cinema, the tools and the technology associated with it and even its audience has undergone radical changes over a period of time. There have also been many changes in the field of media and entertainment with the proliferation of TV channels and Cable network throughout the country, the advent of new digital technology, apprehension of piracy, particularly release of the pirated version of films on the internet, causing huge losses to the film industry and Government exchequer.

The film industry has been demanding for a long time, that Government should consider Amendments to the law preventing camcording and piracy. Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi made an announcement at the inaugural function of the National Museum of Indian Cinema at Mumbai on 19th January 2019 to tackle the menace of camcording and piracy. The Ministry of I&B piloted this matter for consideration of Union Cabinet.