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Govt admits low production of STBs, urges more players to manufacture under Make in India Initiative

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MUMBAI: The government today admitted that less than 10 per cent set top boxes being used in India were Indian made. However, Information and Broadcasting Secretary Sunil Arora said the government and his ministry were completely committed to the digitization programme.

Arora said, “We want the industry to look at this opportunity under the Make In India initiative and produce more STBs in India under the Electronics Manufacturing scheme”.

The ministry remained committed to promoting ease of doing business in the media and entertainment sector, Arora said in a dialogue with Star India CEO Uday Shankar and veteran filmmaker Ramesh Sippy at FICCI Frames 2016.

He said the Ministry was also guided by the ‘minimum government, maximum governance’ philosophy. “One of our primary objectives is to bring down the number of visitors to Shastri Bhavan to a trickle. We want to move towards less regulation and facilitate India to become the hub of media and entertainment industry."

Arora claimed that clearance for new TV channels had been expedited over the last six months under a liberalized regime. He said the home ministry had agreed to most of the suggestions made by the I&B ministry about liberalizing several conditions. Arora stressed that the ministry intends to play a role of a facilitator for the media and entertainment industry to flourish in the country.

He said a decision had been taken to set up the National Centre of Excellence in Animation, Gaming and Visual Effects in Mumbai.  The Maharashtra Government is providing a 25 acre land near the Film City in Goregaon for the institute.

The secretary also said the government had approved the Rs 598 crore National Film Heritage Mission to preserve and promote India’s rich film and cultural heritage. He also referred to the National Museum of Indian Cinema coming up in Films Division Complex on Peddar Road in Mumbai with several interactive exhibits. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken a keen interest in this museum which is being curated by the National Council of Science Museums, Kolkata.”

Focusing on ease of doing business, Arora said a Film Facilitation Office had opened in the National Film Development Corporation to function as a single window service for film related clearances. The secretary said an award had been instituted as part of the National Film Awards from this year to honour the states that are most film friendly. In 2016, Gujarat has been adjudged the most film friendly state, followed by UP and Kerala.

Participating in the discussion, Shankar, who is also FICCI Entertainment Panel Chairman expressed concern over the viability of stand-alone news channels. He also said the entry of fringe elements in the news broadcasting field for ‘ancillary facilities’ was affecting credibility. Sippy expressed concern over low theatre density in India.

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