The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting is examining a draft Optical Disc Law to check piracy in the film sector. This was stated by Secretary, (I&B), Asha Swarup in her remarks at the “India – The Big Picture Conference 2007”, organized by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in Goa on Thursday.
The draft law has been prepared by the members of film sector at the initiative of Government of India. The Government is encouraging digital exhibition as it helps access the market easily, she added. Smt. Swarup said that the Government is attempting to enhance the benefits relating to custom duty also for this sector as digitalization reduces the cost of distribution of films and also helps films in reaching B and C category centres very fast, besides acting as a deterrent to piracy.
The Secretary said that the I&B Ministry is actively pursuing the creation of a National Centre for Excellence in Animation, Gaming and Visual Effects with a view to promote this emerging sector. The Ministry of Human Resource Development has been also requested to include these sectors in the curricula, at colleges and ITIs.
Asha Swarup said that the Government initiative of setting up an Export Promotion Council for the entertainment sector has been very well received and the Indian film industry under the lead of the Film and Television Producers’ Guild of India has come forward to form the Export Promotion Council.
Asha Swarup exhorted all industry members to be a part of this initiative. She assured the industry of the continued Government support in helping the film industry grow at a faster pace and participating in foreign film festivals and markets.
For a very long time films were also our best known exports. Though the audience have largely been the Indian disapora, we seem to be gradually developing audience among different cultures as well.
Signing of co-production agreements with other countries facilitates films production. Film co-production agreements have been signed with Italy, Germany, Brazil and UK. Swarup said, discussions with the Government of UK for the Annex to the co-production agreement have come to conclusion and we are hopeful of signing this when the Prime Minister bilateral negotiations take place in January next year.
The Secretary said that the Foreign Direct Investment policy for the film industry which allows 100% FDI on the automatic route, coupled with professionalisation and corporation of Indian production houses is likely to attract large foreign investments in the fields of production, distribution and exhibition.
Compared to other parts of the world, the Indian industry has withstood the onslaught of foreign films rather successfully until now, and has grown substantially in size. At present 18% annual rate of growth, the entertainment & media industry size is expected to reach rupees one trillion in 2011. The share of the filmed entertainment industry, which is presently Rs. 84 billion is expected to reach Rs. 175 billion over the next five years at a cumulative annual growth rate of 16%. She urged the film and entertainment industry to come forward with their suggestions for taking these sectors ahead and in enhancing their strong points.