Task force on gaming and animation to finalise report in six months

NEW DELHI: Even as a consultant is finalising a detailed report for setting up a National Centre for Animation, Gaming and Visual Effects, a high-level task force is dwelling upon various issues following an assurance by Information and Broadcasting Ministry earlier this year to give priority to this sector.

The Planning Commission has already allocated Rs 520 million under the 11th Plan period (2007-12) for the Centre, as the private sector has complained of a shortage in manpower in this sector which is growing at a fast rate. The Planning Commission wants this Centre to be on a public-private partnership.
The 13-member task force headed by I&B Additional Secretary Rajiv Takru set up recently will evolve a methodology to ensure the widest possible consultations on a 14-point charter in the terms of reference and submit its report within six months from the date of its first meeting, which was held earlier this month.

The Task Force includes Mahesh Samath (Walt Disney India), Ashish Kulkarni (Big Animation Reliance), Tapash Chakravarty (DQ Entertainment), Rajesh Rao (Dhruva Games), Vishal Gondal (UTV India Games), AK Madhavan (Crest Animation Studios), Jaspreet Bindra (Microsoft), Munjal Shroff (Graphiti Multimedia), S Nagarajan (Visual Computing Lab, Tata ELXSI), and Leena Jaisani (FICCI). The Director (Films) is the member secretary and the Joint Secretary (Films) DP Reddy is a member. 
The committee will examine various aspects including existing co-production treaties and promoting the locally produced animation content in foreign markets. In keeping with a demand made early this year by Minister Ambika Soni to the Finance Ministry, the Task Force will examine the possibility of entertainment tax exemption for children and animation feature films for 10 years, service tax exemption to studios developing original contents, rationalized customs tariff for the gaming industry, promotion of indigenous digital content education and entertainment for masses, and setting up of multiple parks for the sector on the SEZ model.
Meanwhile, it is learnt that The Standing Committee on Information Technology which deals with issues related to Information and Broadcasting had earlier estimated that the Centre‘s share would be around Rs 750 million.

Earlier, a Committee set up by the Ministry had estimated that on an average, at least 3000 trained personnel would be needed every year for the burgeoning fields of animation and gaming, and the special effects is also expected to grow at similar levels. The Committee had been set up to identify new opportunities in the areas of Information, Communication and Entertainment where the State needs to play a pro-active role.

In its report on the growth of the animation and gaming segment, the KPMG had earlier this year said the Animation and special effects segment, at Rs 3.2 billion, posted a 13.6 per cent growth in 2009. The industry is expected to grow at a CAGR of 18.7 per cent in the next five years to reach Rs 46.6 billion by 2014. This growth is going to be triggered by the increased consumption of animated content, focus on IP creation and growth of 3D formats.

Gaming has shown a 22 per cent growth in 2009, and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 32 per cent in the next five years to reach Rs 32 billion by 2014.

In the report presented at FICCI FRAMES in March this year, KPMG said "Console gaming currently constitutes the largest share of the pie, but going forward mobile gaming platform is expected to eventually surpass levels of console games. The growth in this sector will be backed by the increase in number of casual and active games, arrival of 3G, availability of localized content, growth in ad funded gaming platforms and greater awareness of products and services."

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