In a decision taken today to support the film sector, the Union cabinet has merged five film units to create one government entity to handle all issues related to movies. The union cabinet today decided to merge Films Division, Directorate of Film Festivals, National Film Archives of India and Children’s Fil Society with the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC).
Apart from the Children’s Film Society, the rest of the units are subordinate to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. The government has expanded the Memorandum of Articles of Association of the NFDC, thus assigning the organisation the activities performed by the other four units. The merger of these units is expected to lead to convergence of activities and resources thereby ensuring better coordination, synergy and efficiency in achieving the mandate of each media unit.
Details about the merged media units
The Films Division was set up in 1948 with the objective of produce documentaries and news magazines for publicity of Government programmes and cinematic record of Indian history. The National Film Archives of India was established in 1964 for acquiring and preserving Indian cinematic heritage. The Directorate of Film Festivals formed in 1973 aimed at promoting Indian films and cultural exchange. And finally, the Children’s Film Society was established in 1955 under the Societies Act with the objective of providing children and young people value-based entertainment through the medium of films. This is an autonomous organisation.
The NFDC is a Central Public Sector Undertaking established in 1975 with the primary objective of planning and promoting an organised efficient and integrated development of the Indian Film Industry.
The Cabinet has given the nod for the appointment of a Transaction Advisor and Legal Advisor to advise on the transfer of assets and employees and to oversee all aspects of operationalisation of the merger. According to the government notification, no employees of any of the four units to be merged into NFDC will be retrenched as a result of the merger. The new entity aims to ensure balanced and focused development of Indian cinema in all its genres-feature films, including films/content for the OTT platforms, children’s content, animation, short films and documentaries.
Government revises DTH guidelines for obtaining license in India
In another decision taken today, the union government has approved the proposal for the revision of the guidelines for obtaining licenses for providing Direct-To-Home (DTH) broadcasting service in India. The revised guidelines include the following:
- The period for which license will be issued has been increased from 10 years to 20 years renewable by 10 years at a time.
- The license has also been revised from 10% of Gross Revenue (GR) to 8% of Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR). The AGR will be calculated by deducting GST from the GR.
- The license fee will be collected quarterly instead of annually.
- DTH operators will be allowed to operate to a maximum of 5% of its total channel carrying capacity as permitted platform channels. This means, if a DTH operator carries 400 channels, it can’t broadcast more than 20 platform channels.
- A one-time non-refundable registration fee of Rs 10,000 per PS channel will be charged from the DTH operator.
- DTH operators willing to share DTH platform and transport stream of TV channels will be allowed to do so. Distributors of TV channels will be permitted to share the common hardware for their Subscriber Management System (SMS) and Conditional Access System (CAS) applications.
- The cap of 49% FDI in the existing DTH guidelines will be aligned with the extant Government (DPIIT’s) policy on FDI as amended from time to time. This means, 100% FDI will be allowed in the sector.
According to the government notification, the proposed reduction is aimed at aligning the license fee regime applicable to the Telecom sector will be applied prospectively. The difference is expected to enable DTH service providers to invest for more coverage leading to increased operations and higher growth and thus enhanced and regular license fee payment by them. The registration fee for Platform Services is likely to generate revenue of around Rs 12 lakhs. Sharing of infrastructure by DTH operators will ensure more efficient use of limited satellite resources and will reduce costs borne by consumers. The extant FDI policy is expected to attract more foreign investment.
The DTH, which is operable on pan-India basis, is a highly employment-intensive sector. The sector directly employs DTH operators as well as those in call centres. It indirectly employs a large number of installers at the ground level. The revised guidelines are expected to ensure better stability and new investments in DTH sector along with employment opportunities.