From ‘Red Tape’ to ‘Red Carpet’: Maharashtra govt’s vision for M&E sector


MUMBAI: The demand for single window clearance for the film sector is nothing new, but the good news now is that the newly appointed state government under Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is looking into it, and seriously.

Government of Maharashtra Tourism & Culture secretary Valsa Nair Singh told the gathering on the concluding day of FICCI Frames 2015, that the process for single window clearance has begun. “The problem is that no one is aware how many clearances are needed to be able to produce a movie in Maharashtra. While someone says 70, others say 60 or 50. It has been a month and I have been trying to collect all the data regarding clearances that are currently needed. I still don’t have a clear picture,” she informed.

The government, after collecting the required data, will start analysing the clearances which are actually needed. “I am sure almost half of it would either be repetitive or redundant. We will then see how many of the clearances can be clubbed. We will also appoint a nodal officer, who would be handling everything, thus ensuring that the producer doesn’t have to go to each department,” informed Singh.

Once the process is completed for films, the government will look at coming up with single window clearance even for live events. “What we have seen is that people are moving away from the state for live events and the reason they cite is the long process of approvals. So we have to make the system more conducive,” she added.

The single window clearance has been set in motion, said Singh adding that the Chief Minister who had attended the Pune Film Festival had also suggested that the procedure will be in place before the next film festival.

Considering that the film industry contributed almost Rs 50 billion to the GDP in 2013 and an employment of 7.75 lakhs in just one year, the Maharashtra government is looking at ensuring that more films are shot in the state. “We need to make the process simpler and provide the infrastructure,” she said.

Singh raised concerns over the multiple authority clearance, which according to her leads to red tapism. “We want to move from red tape to red carpet, this is the intention of the Maharashtra government,” announced Singh.  

In a meeting held on 25 March, the government has already taken the decision to start moving towards single window clearance and reduce the number of approvals.

The Maharashtra government also wants to create awareness about the locations in the state, which can be used for shooting. “We would be doing it through a ready reckoner for locations. It will have the photographs, the connectivity, the location and the helpline numbers for the location. We will be compiling everything and uploading the same on the website,” she said.

The government wants to move to the online regime, “but that will take time and so the single windowing process will start manually first as a pilot project and then move to online,” informed Singh. The nodal officer for the entire project will be the managing director of Film City located in Goregaon in Mumbai. “We are trying it on pilot basis from the next month and the announcement for the same will be made soon.”

Singh also agreed that the industry needed to be incentivised. “The more movies that are shot here, the government stands to benefit and that will happen with incentives. We would like to take it up soon,” she said.

This is a new beginning for the film industry. “The M&E has so far not got its due. We will look at it closely,” concluded Singh.

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