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Government committed to promoting Film Friendly Environment in the country – Ajay Mittal

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The 18th edition of FICCI Frames, the annual congregation of media and entertainment industry professionals got underway in Mumbai today, with a call to formulate policies that would unlock the full potential of the Rs 1.2 lakh crore sector. Delivering the special address at the inaugural function, Information & Broadcasting Secretary Ajay Mittal reiterated government’s commitment to promoting film and entertainment friendly environment in the country.

Mr. Mittal said given India’s cultural diversity and rich heritage and the abundance of talent, content creation was not an issue but the focus needs to be laid on distribution and monetization. He said, the Media & Entertainment industry, is expected to grow at double the rate of GDP growth and the Government is seized of the huge potential it offers. Mr. Mittal said, the focus of the government is on liberalizing the M&E industry and promoting ease of doing business.

Secretary said the establishment of Film Facilitation Office in NFDC Delhi has helped in providing single window clearance for film shooting in India. He said that 41 film shootings were facilitated by FFO last year. Mr. Mittal also informed that the Ministry of Home Affairs has approved the new ‘Film Visa’ category, which would go a long way in removing entry related delays. He said to promote competition among the states to encourage film shooting, the Ministry has introduced the Most Film Friendly State award carrying Rs 1 crore prize money.

Underlining the growth in the broadcasting sector, Mr. Mittal said 177 new Television licenses were granted in the past 2 years, in addition to 164 new FM channels in 103 cities.

Speaking about censorship, Mr. Mittal said the recommendations of the Shyam Benegal Committee were being studied by the government and a decision would be taken soon. He reposed faith in the institutions created by the Constitution to act as bulwark against the whims of fringe groups.

Earlier, STAR India CEO and Chairman of FICCI Entertainment Committee Uday Shankar had expressed strong concern over creative freedom being curbed not only by the institutions but also by external bodies and fringe elements exercising vigilante censorship. He said “spirit of creativity is to push boundaries, but creative minds are being forced to self censor”. Echoing similar views, eminent film maker Rakyesh Omprakash Mehra called for abolition of censorship altogether to be replaced by age group -wise certification as suggested by the Benegal Committee.

FICCI Frames is the flagship event of the media and entertainment industry drawing participation of professionals from across the country and abroad. Canada is the partner country in this edition of FICC Frames. A 100 strong delegation from Canada is participating in the event exploring possibilities of forging new partnerships and co-production opportunities.

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