FTII overhaul likely with eminent persons on board

  • Zia Haq, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Aug 05, 2015 23:44 IST

A proposed bill to overhaul the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) provides for only “eminent persons” to be taken as administrators, even as the government’s current choice of actor Gajendra Chauhan as chairperson of the premier cinema school has sparked a row.

As per the “salient features” of the draft bill, which HT has viewed, a board of governors will run affairs at the institute, but the government will retain its powers to appoint the chairperson and vice-chairperson. There is however no clarity on what parameters will apply to “eminent persons” .

The Arun Jaitley-headed information and broadcasting ministry had decided to bring in a new bill to administer three media institutions under its mandate: the New Delhi-based Indian Institute of Mass Communication, Kolkata-based Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute and Pune-based FTII. This legislation would be on the lines of the Central Universities Act, an official said.

As per the government’s plan, FTII will be made into a “centre of national importance” and be run under the provisions of an “exclusive Act” of Parliament. While the board will be the topmost administrative body, academic affairs will be overseen by a “senate”.

FTII students, backed by some film personalities, continue to boycott classes and vociferously demand Chauhan’s ouster because he “lacks stature”.

The government isn’t blinking on the Chauhan affair, but has pointed to the institute’s history of breakdowns and frequent strikes.

The PK Nair panel appointed by the UPA government had found that students who had joined the FTII in 2005, 2006 and 2007 had still not graduated by 2011. “In effect, a three-year course is at present stretching on until a sixth year,” the committee had said in an interim report. It was this panel that recommended a university status.

The institution currently runs as an autonomous entity under the Societies Registration Act. The board of governors will be headed by an “eminent personality in the field of film/television” and “eminent persons” will be its members, the “salient features” say. Draft provisions under “clause 6” of the bill say degrees provided by FTII will be “equivalent” to those of a university established by law.

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