Issues will be resolved, Venkaiah tells media, entertainment sector

New Delhi, Nov 7 (IANS) Information and Broadcasting Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu on Monday assured representatives of the media and entertainment sector that their “issues” would be resolved in a time-bound manner and said the government was committed to cooperate with all stakeholders.

“All their (representatives of media and entertainment sector) issues would be resolved by the government in a time-bound manner. The government is committed to cooperate with all stakeholders in all ways to make India a world market leader in the field of media and entertainment,” Naidu said.

He was addressing the CEOs’ round-table meeting organised by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci) here.

Considering the growth prospects of the Indian media and entertainment industry for the economy, Naidu said the concerns of the industry regarding new tax rates in the GST (Goods and Services Tax) structure would be conveyed to the Finance Minister.

He said a comprehensive review of the Cinematograph Act, 1952, was under consideration in the light of reports submitted by Justice (retd) Mukul Mudgal and noted Indian film director and screenwriter Shyam Benegal.

On the issue of improving screen density in India, Naidu said the reach of cinema was limited to a small segment and there was an immense opportunity for the film industry to tap the regional markets and cater to the needs of consumers by developing content in local and regional languages.

He assured that their issue has been taken up with the Multiplex Association of India to formulate Model Rules for building and operating cinema halls. Once received, these would be shared and discussed with all the state governments at the coming State Information Ministers’ Conference scheduled in December.

“The state governments would be requested to look into the matter and ease out the process in order to increase screen density throughout the country,” he said

On the issue of grant of permission to television channels, Naidu said that the ministry has taken the initiative to streamline the processes and procedures in the broadcasting sector.

He also mentioned that e-auction of the second batch of private FM Radio phase III channels commenced a week ago.

At least “266 FM Channels in 92 cities comprising 227 channels in 69 fresh cities and 39 unsold channels from 23 cities of batch I of Ph-III have been put on auction in the second batch,” he said.

Naidu said the government was planning to set up a National Centre of Excellence for Media, which would provide training to the industry professionals.

The ministry was also in the process to set up a film promotion fund to support movies, including Bollywood and regional, for participation in foreign film festivals.

The audio-visual co-production agreements signed by the government would help the film industry explore more resources and share best practices, Naidu said, adding that the Cabinet has recently given approval to the agreement between India and South Korea.