Television

Single window service for film shooting to become operational shortly: Tewari

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NEW DELHI: A single window service for promoting cinema tourism is all set to become operational shortly.

Speaking at the Cinemascape 2013 conclave in Mumbai today, Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari observed that India with its rich heritage and diverse geography has great potential as a destination for film shooting but the current system of multiple clearances at various levels made it an unattractive destination for filming.

 ?Increasingly therefore, most Indian filmmakers have gravitated towards foreign destinations for outdoor shoots. Any lost opportunity is a revenue loss for the country,? he remarked.

Tewari said the government has now decided to address the issue by establishing a single window service for granting clearances for film shootings in India. He informed that a Committee on Promotion and Facilitation of Film Production in India has been set up. It is chaired by the secretary in the ministry, with senior representatives from the Ministries of External Affairs, Home Affairs; Tourism; Culture; Railways; Civil Aviation; Defence and Department of Revenue etc.

 The state governments have been asked to nominate the nodal officers for film clearance. The minister said Standard Operating Procedures are being developed to accord clearances for film shooting by domestic and foreign producers in India.

Tewari stressed on the need for a sound legal architecture for promoting cinema as a form of creative expression. While conceding that law and order is a state subject, he said film certification falls in the central domain. He said, ?There is an urgent need to update laws relating to film certification and exhibition and I am happy to inform that the committee headed by Justice Mukul Mudgal has submitted its recommendation along with a model bill to replace the existing Cinematograph Act 1952.?

 He said the recommendations of the committee as well as the model bill will be published on the website of the ministry to seek wider public consultation. The minister assured the film fraternity that by the middle of 2014, India would have a contemporary law to deal with cinema.

 Dwelling on the issue of taxation and fiscal incentives for the film and entertainment sector, the minister called upon the industry representatives to set up a committee of experts to draw a comprehensive strategy, which could then be submitted to the Finance Minister on behalf of his ministry.

Participating in a panel discussion, noted film maker Mukesh Bhatt said 76 different permissions have to be obtained for film shooting in India, while Indian producers are given a red carpet welcome in some of the cine-tourism nations like Switzerland, New Zealand, South Africa, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore. Bhatt acknowledged that the Ministry?s effort is a welcome first step.

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