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Government To Make Norms For Entertainment Business Easier

Information and Broadcasting Secretary Sunil Arora said that the government remained committed to promoting ease of doing business in the media and entertainment sector

Photo Credit : Subhabrata Das

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A new set of rules have been submitted to the Union Cabinet for the next stage of FM radio auctions in Phase III, according to information and broadcasting secretary Sunil Arora. He made the announcement during a keynote session ‘Making India a Global M&E Hub’ with Star India CEO Uday Shankar and veteran filmmaker Ramesh Sippy on the third and concluding day of Ficci Frames 2016 in Mumbai on Friday (01 April).

The I&B ministry, Arora stressed, remained committed to promoting ease of doing business in the media and entertainment sector. Stating that the ministry was also guided by the ‘minimum government, maximum governance’ philosophy, Arora said that the ministry wanted to play the role of a facilitator for the sector’s progress. “One of our primary objectives is to bring down the number of visitors to Shastri Bhavan to a trickle, move towards less regulation and facilitate India to become the hub of M and E industry,” he said.

Highlighting the fact that the Union government and the I&B Ministry were completely committed to the digitisation programme, he sought the industry’s involvement in the Make In India initiative and produce more Set Top Boxes in India under the Electronics Manufacturing scheme. At present, he admitted that less than 10 per cent set top boxes being used in India were Indian made.

Clearance for new TV channels had been expedited over the last six months under a liberalised regime, he said. The home ministry, he informed, had agreed to most of the suggestions made by the I&B ministry about liberalising several conditions.

Moving to another area of concern which was also key to making India a global M&E hub, the I&B secretary said that there was a need to increase the number of theatres in the country. In regard to taxation, he pointed out that the levies would be rationalized automatically once the GST is in place.

Arora said that that the government was committed to digitization and was moving towards it. The National Film Archives of India was working towards safeguarding the heritage of Indian cinema and was in the process of digitizing more than 1000 films.

Arora said that the government was setting up a Film Facilitation Office for enabling the industry and government to work in tandem. To promote the media and entertainment industry in the states, a new award ‘Most Film Friendly State’ had been conceived, which would be presented to Gujarat this year.

Highlighting the initiatives of the government to promote the media and entertainment industry in the country, Mr. Arora said that a Centre of Excellence for Animation, Visual Effects and Gaming was coming up at the Film City in Maharashtra besides a National Film Museum and Permanent National Photo Gallery.

Participating in the discussion, Uday Shankar, who is also FICCI entertainment panel chairman, expressed concern over the viability of stand-alone news channels. The entry of fringe elements in the news broadcasting field for ‘ancillary facilities’ was affecting credibility, he said. Ramesh Sippy also expressed concern over low theatre density in India.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.


Nandini Raghavendra

Nandini Raghavendra has been tracking the media and entertainment space for The Economic Times for over 15 years. She is currently a consultant with Ernst & Young

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