An open letter to Shri Prakash Javdekar, our new I&B Minister

Sir, it’s your golden opportunity to leave a memorable and lasting legacy for the Indian Film & TV Industry

 

Dear Prakash Ji,

 

Hearty congratulations on your appointment as the Minister of Information & Broadcasting.

 

The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB) remained one of the most neglected ministries during the first term of Shri Narendra Modi’s illustrious government that has just been returned to power with a resounding electoral victory. We are proud to have openly endorsed him for the second term and actively campaigned for his success.

 

MIB has been working in the absence of a clearly defined goal and sense of purpose. Frequent changes at the helm didn’t help the matters much. Various organs of the ministry that were related to the film and TV industry remained dysfunctional. A few decisions were taken but they were arbitrary in nature and thus failed to address the real issues that act as bottlenecks in the wholesome growth of the Industry, thus failing to exploit and explore its potential as one of the drivers of our economic growth and employment generation.

 

So what needs to be done? We have listed out the following points for your serious and urgent consideration.

 

  1. MIB must re-evaluate the usefulness of its various organs like NFDC, CFSI, Films Division, Directorate of Film Festivals, CBFC, and FTII in the light of the current state of cinema art and industry. This will help in redefining their role.

 

  1. The Indian film & TV industry was granted the ‘formal’ status of an industry during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee era. However, it continued to function in its old informal ways in the absence of a reporting structure. Creation of a credible and reliable reporting structure to monitor the turnover and growth of the industry should be a priority of MIB. This will involve the setting up of a reporting infrastructure for box office collections and a TV viewership monitoring authority.

 

  1. MIB must help in creating an infrastructure and mechanism for dispute settlement among various stakeholders that will act as a government-authorized ‘Panchayat’ with adequate authority to adjudicate and enforce its decisions among various stakeholders.

 

  1. MIB must create a watchdog body to keep an eye on industrial malpractices that compromise the competitive environment and discriminate against smaller players through cartels and oligopolies. This body will be authorized to take punitive action against the erring entities.

 

  1. MIB should encourage the industry to develop a far-reaching vision document and to evolve ideas and approaches to chart out further growth of the industry by exploiting its full potential domestically as well as globally. It will also provide necessary inputs to the nation’s policy-makers and planners to help them remove bureaucratic bottlenecks.

 

These are just a few points that can form the basis of your dialogue with the industry in pursuit of evolving a comprehensive and actionable policy for the Film & TV Industry.

 

Thank you and warm regards,

S Kumar Mohan

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