India’s emerging ‘soft power’ needs global imaging and for that the country needs an international television channel costing Rs 500 crore to the public exchequer and promotion of the Indian films abroad.
These are some of the major recommendations of the working group on the Information and Broadcasting sectors to the government. To implement the recommendations, the group has asked for Rs 11,000 crores in the 11th-five year plan.
Demand for an international channel was earlier made by the I&B ministry but was dumped after there were not many takers for the proposal. In its new avatar, the working group has proposed a public-private partnership with annual government outlay of Rs 100 crore. The ministry has proposed a fully public funded channel.
It appears that movies and animation created a lot of interested for the working group. It has asked the government to set up a Centre of Excellence based on Private Public Partnership (PPP) mode in the areas of animation, gaming and special effects. Revamp of the Cinematograph Act of 1952 to tune it with changing technologies is another such suggestion of the group.
To improve the quality of films produced in India, the government has been asked to lower the duties on digital prints and provide more financial incentives to the film industry. A target of doubling the export earning from films has been set by the working group.
The government has been asked to consider setting up of a news museum and a media city to provide single window clearances to make India as future publishing hub of the world. It has also recommended setting up of National Media Council for Press and television media but has suggested that the government should promote self-regulation.
Prasar Bharati seems to have lost to Direct to Home service. The working group wants no expansion for terrestrial network of Doordarshan and instead has recommended that entire India should be brought under the DTH service. It has also recommended enhancement of FM coverage from 40 per cent to 75 per cent in the next five years.