Several new news channels await clearance: I&B minister RS Prasad

NEW DELHI: India's information and broadcasting minister Ravi Shankar Prasad today said that there are several new proposals for news channels that are pending the government's clearance.


"I still have some seven to eight files regarding news channels to clear,"Prasad said, adding that of these some are old cases.

The minister, who was speaking at a session on media and entertainment at the annual session of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) here, however, refused to give any further details or to name the companies that have sought government permission to start news channels.

On the sidelines of the session, Prasad also said that the government has not taken any stand on the formation of a task force to look into evolving an industry-friendly policy framework for the FM radio segment as had been suggested by the Radio Group, which had met the minister some days back.

"The proposal is still under consideration," Prasad said. According to the minister, the government has decided to rework the visa manual in order to provide a single window clearance to foreign film producers coming to shoot on Indian locales.

Prasad said that a suggestion has been made by him to the external affairs minister to make films as a part of diplomacy as the films are the best ambassadors of the country.

Dwelling on the simplification of norms for film shooting in India, Prasad said this would enable foreign producers to come to India with a script and leave with the complete films in cans. For this, a whole lot of post-production facilities, studio and other infrastructure facilities, including the hotel and transport arrangements, would have to be toned up.

Prasad felt that these steps would help in making India a low cost film production hub in the region. In this direction, the English language speaking experts and technicians and IT expertise, especially in animation film production are the major inputs.

Prasad also mentioned about the special animation courses that are being started at Film and Television Institute, Pune and Satyajit Ray Film & Television Institute, Kolkata.

The minister said that Indian films have enormous potential of exploring to foreign markets but the industry has to work seriously in this direction. The government on its part is playing a proactive role, which is reflected in its initiative at larger participation at Cannes Film Festival and also holding Film Bazaar at the International Film Festival in Delhi last year. He said, the ministry has decided to participate in all the major film festivals of the world.

Earlier during the session, Mukta Arts chairman Subhash Ghai, and actor-director Shashi Kapoor highlighted the problems of the film industry and invited government intervention in encouraging low-cost films by giving subsidies, providing infrastructure at beautiful locations in India, and allotting IT status to the film industry.

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