MIB working on National Broadcast Policy in consultation with stakeholders: Amit Khare

MUMBAI: The ministry of information and broadcasting (MIB) is working with Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) to come out with a National Broadcast Policy for India’s fast-growing TV broadcasting sector.

Delivering a keynote address at FICCI Frames 2019, MIB secretary Amit Khare said that the draft of the proposed National Broadcast Policy is being prepared in consultation with key stakeholders.

Khare noted that the ministry received a representation from FICCI to have a national media policy. However, the ministry did not go with the nomenclature of National Media Policy as the term media has a very wide meaning.

The ministry also plans to come out with a policy or a strategy paper for the film industry. The policy paper will prepare a broad outline for the industry until 2025. Among other things, the paper will look at issues like incentives by the governments, regulatory changes required for improving screen density.

“So we have thought of having a National Broadcast Policy. The draft is being prepared and we are working with key and other stakeholders. So that India has a National Broadcast policy and the second will be a policy or a strategy paper as to how the film industry and entertainment industry strategises for 2025,” Khare noted.

Khare also stated that the central government has followed a liberal policy of having less regulation for the broadcast sector. The ministry, he added, favours self-regulation for the broadcast sector. “There is no reason to believe that person sitting in Delhi would be more knowledgeable or more prudent compared to the industry people who are dealing with the subject on a day to day basis,” he quipped.

While noting that there are different regulations for print, TV, films and digital, Khare feels that there is a need to relook at the existing regulator structures due to the convergence of technologies.

“There is a need to rethink. There is a need to meet this challenge and also which is a great opportunity in terms of content which will be used by the customer or the client at the other ends. This technological change which is taking place at a very rapid pace,” he stated.

Khare also said that the media & entertainment (M&E) industry is a very important part of the Indian economy. He also noted that the M&E industry provides an estimated 2 million jobs. It also helps India to demonstrate its soft-power globally.

“The Indian M&E sector is important especially since it is fast-growing and provides employment to millions. It has a big role in strengthening India’s global image. It is a private sector-led industry. Hence, the government’s role has been of a facilitator and not a regulator,” Khare asserted.

Pointing out the challenges in the film industry, Khare noted that one of the biggest challenges is lower screen density which needs to improve. He further stated that the ministry is working towards creating ease of shooting films in India.

He also informed that the Film Facilitation Office (FFO) has already been set up and will be functional by 1st April. The FFO will pave the way for a single window clearance for shooting permissions whether it is for railways or historical monuments or from the state governments.

The ministry also plans to encourage co-productions. Every year 2000 films are produced in India across multiple languages. “I think the content could be greatly enhanced if we have co-production agreement on stories which are shot jointly in two or three countries,” he averred.

Gaming/Animation/Virtual Reality, he said, are the next big opportunities or challenges for the industry. He noted that a National Centre for Excellence for Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming, and Comics is being set up in Goregaon, Mumbai.

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