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For the year 2017-18, the government had earmarked a total amount of Rs207 crore for the film sector, up from Rs134 crore in the previous year. Photo: Aniruddha Chowdhury/Mint
For the year 2017-18, the government had earmarked a total amount of Rs207 crore for the film sector, up from Rs134 crore in the previous year. Photo: Aniruddha Chowdhury/Mint

I&B ministry plans to merge film units

The I&B ministry is planning to merge all four of its film units into a single entity, in a bid to avoid overlapping of operations as well as restructure resources

New Delhi: The information and broadcasting (I&B) ministry is planning to merge all four of its film units—National Film Development Corp. (NFDC), Children’s Film Society India (CFSI), Directorate of Film Festivals (DIFF) and Films Division of India—into a single entity, in a bid to restructure and realign the resources, two people familiar with the matter said, on the condition of anonymity.

NFDC works with filmmakers to co-produce movies (in public-private partnerships). It has done films like Nawazuddin Siddiqui-starrer Manjhi-The Mountain Man, Ritesh Batra-directed Lunchbox and Irrfan Khan-starrer Qissa. While DIFF organizes film festivals in India and National Film Awards every year, CFSI is responsible for production and promotion of films for children. Films Division primarily produces documentaries, short films and animation films.

“The idea is to bring the business of production, promotion and showcasing of films under one umbrella. All these entities function separately and there can be overlapping of operations and hence, overuse of government resources. The ministry is also planning to merge the schemes targeted at all these entities," said a ministry official, one of the two people mentioned earlier.

This comes as a part of an ongoing restructuring (of various departments) process at the I&B ministry. In an earlier order, dated 8 December, the I&B ministry had announced integration of three of its advertising and publicity units—Directorate of Field Publicity (DFP), Song and Drama Division (S&DD) and the Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity (DAVP). Post the merger, the new entity will be called Bureau of Outreach & Communication (BOC).

A former I&B ministry official said the restructuring process makes sense as it will help the ministry in realigning the resources and laying down clear objectives for all. “There is a lot of overlapping of activities in the ministry especially in the films units. This integration will cut redundancy and costs (to some extent) as well. It makes sense to realign the divisions," the official said, on the condition of anonymity.

For the year 2017-18, the government had earmarked a total amount of Rs207 crore for the film sector, up from Rs134 crore in the previous year. This budget is for dissemination of film content, infrastructure development, development of National Museum of Indian Cinema, among other projects. The government also has a film promotion fund to support films selected in the competition section in any international film festival, including India’s official nomination for Academy awards. The aid (of up to Rs1 crore) is given for promotional activities.

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