Govt agrees with most of Shyam Benegal committee's report, will amend Cinematograph Act soon
Mumbai: Information and Broadcasting Minister Venkaiah Naidu on Tuesday said the government is amenable to a majority of Shyam Benegal committee's recommendations and will amend the Cinematograph Act soon.
The government is "in agreement with most of the recommendations of the report and all efforts" would be made by the ministry to "facilitate the amendments", an official statement said quoting Naidu.
The statement, which came after the last leg of consultation with stake-holders on Cinematograph Act in Mumbai, added, "the amendments would be in tune with technical and other realities of film production and modern times".
The Benegal panel was constituted after repeated controversies after the appointment of Pahlaj Nihlani as the CBFC chief by the NDA Government.
The Pahlaj Nihalani-led CBFC has been mired in controversies for cuts issued in films, with filmmakers demanding changes in the way films are certified.
The committee submitted its report in April last year to amend certain sections of the 1952 law.
"The participants were of the opinion that the government should implement the new recommendations of the committee of experts chaired by Shyam Benegal at the earliest," the statement said.
The consultation was also attended by Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, Secretary of Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Ajay Mittal, eminent captains of film industry, representatives of Film Producers Guild, senior government officials and other stake-holders.
The film industry also brought up the issue of higher GST of 28 percent for the sector, but Naidu said that the GST Council has taken this decision and assured to present their case before the council.
On the demand of increasing the number of screens, Naidu said state governments need to ensure single-window clearances and weed out unnecessary rules to simplify the process.
"A simpler and easy process of licensing would encourage not only more people to invest in the sector but would also incentivise many to upgrade the existing old screens to modern new screens and create better viewing experiences for all, which in turn would bring more people to halls and boost revenue," the statement said.
The minister said his ministry has finalised plans of setting up a national centre of excellence in animation, visual effects, gaming and comics at Film City in the financial capital.
The centre will be built on a 25-acre land parcel given by the Maharashtra government to the National Building Construction Company. It will have capacity to accommodate 1,480 students at a time and 60 percent of them will be at the under-graduate level.
The Centre is also setting up a national museum of Indian cinema in the city and it will be inaugurated in July, he said.
Film industry's demand for more screens was also discussed during a meeting on Tuesday, Naidu said, adding that there are many impediments on the issue including urban development policies.
He said the films have international potential and are the most potent medium of spreading India's culture globally.