Govt needs to give more attention to animation & VFX industry

MUMBAI: Makers of animation, visual effects, gaming and comics (AVGC) today regretted that the central or state governments had done very little to help the industry which could prove to be a major foreign exchange earner for the country.

Speaking at a session on ‘Government Intervention and initiatives for AVGC industry,’ the makers said that the government could give a start by giving greater importance to art and animation in the education system and giving a tax holiday to this industry for at least ten years.

Apart from three persons involved in the making of AVGC, the participants included West Bengal Information Minister Debesh Das who said his government was working to produce a talent pool and resource. For this purpose, the government was planning training centres.

Emphasizing that the Government’s aim was to facilitate and not make money, Dr Das said there were also plans to put AVGC industries in the Special Economic Zones. However, he indicated that few entrepreneurs had come forward to set up industries in this field.

Balkrishna Maddur, who is President of the Association of Bangalore Animation Industry (ABAI), said the state government had responded very positively to suggestions made by ABAI to developing the industry in Karnataka. The state government had even offered land for an AVGC Park, and help to establish a finishing school for graduates in AVGC. In addition, a proposal for setting up post-production facilities in Karnataka had also been accepted.

To get greater inputs, he said a summit of creators of AVGC had been organised on 23 April which will also see the participation of the state government. A demand will be made to put AVGC in SEC and give incubation facility for a PPP model.

Shambhoo Phalke who had earlier worked on a project under which an animation film ‘Legend of Buddha’ was made for Singapore said that it was the Indian government that was sensitive to people, sensitive to culture, and also sensitive to business but had still not taken any tangible step to help the AVGC industry.

Relating his experience about working with Singapore, he said the government of that nation had set up training institutions soon after the completion of the project which had cost $ 6 million in 1995.

He said seven animation television channels were being beamed into India but none of them had local content despite the fact that Indian mythology and culture was full of good stories. He therefore emphasized that content production had to be increased.

Big Animation CEO Ashish Kulkarni said the mindset of the government has to change towards AVGC and stressed the need for more recognised training institutions and a tax holiday for this industry which was still at a nascent stage.

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