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House panel goads changes in film certification, notes under-utilisation of CBFC funds

NEW DELHI: There is an urgent need to revise the guidelines/Acts/Rules relating to Cinematograph Act 1952 and Cinematograph Certification Rules 1983 in the light of Shyam Benegal Committee Report in view of the increase in number of films, short films, advertisements, documentation being submitted for certification and consequent increase in number of court cases.

A Parliamentary Committee has said that the Information and Broadcasting Ministry should make its stand clear and initiate the process of bringing amendments in the existing Acts and Rules through involvement of stakeholders.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology which also examines issues relating to MIB said apart from the recommendations of the Shyam Benegal Committee, the Government had not taken any decision on the suggestions of the Parliamentary Committee.

The Committee of Experts under filmmaker Shyam Benegal had been constituted in January 2016 to evolve broad guidelines/procedures for certification of films within the ambit of provision of Cinematograph Act 1952 and Cinematograph (Certificate) Rules 1983 and it had submitted its Report in June 2016.

The Parliamentary Committee had also submitted revised guidelines and revised Rules which are being examined by the Ministry.

The Ministry told the Committee that the recommendations of the Committee require amendments in Acts/Rules and so require further consultation.

The Committee has been given to understand that the workload of CBFC has increased significantly. There is also a considerable increase in the number of court cases being filed in connection with film certification. The Ministry has issued administrative sanction for two legal consultants one each in Delhi and Mumbai for handling the legal cases of CBFC.

Meanwhile, the Committee said that the Ministry spent only Rs 20.3 million on upgradation, modernisation and expansion of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) and Certification Process up to 31 January 2017 out of a total revised amount of Rs 35.1 million against the budget amount of Rs 40 million.

With regard to activities undertaken during 2016-17, the Ministry said the work of online certification has been awarded with pre-determined milestone set to be completed by March 2017 and the entire fund available was likely to be utilized by March, 2017.

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