The recently held inaugural session of Make in India’s seminar on Media and Entertainment saw experts from the industry and government including film producer Ramesh Sippy, Sudhanshu Vats, Viacom18 Group CEO and Chairman CII National Committee and Col. Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Minister of State for Information & Broadcasting. It delved on how the industry which is poised to scale to $100 bn by 2022 from current $20bn has the potential to create 10 million jobs without much spending from infrastructure.
Moderator of the session Sumit Mazumder, President, CII said, “We need to put together innovative modules to skill and train our future media workforce. There is huge opportunity to make India the perfect digital and content hub.”
Mazumder opened the session praising the brand Make in India and how it’s aimed at positioning the country as a great global superpower. He stressed on how government is creating a business friendly environment by increasing FDI limit and easy policy regime which is vital to the growth of media and entertainment sector. “Government opened up FDI in the broadcast space. It’s permitted in films, advertising and television. Majority of media market has opened up. A lot of activity in the near future is expected which will attract investment and create jobs and ease of doing business,” Mazumder made his point before inviting Sippy to share his view points.
Sippy, for whom Make in India is the biggest brand, said, “We need to get it right and take it forward. We have a world waiting for products we can certainly manufacture. We have a huge local market in India and diaspora all over the world. Sure we can cross these boundaries and take our product everywhere.”
He cited an example from his yesteryears of how the idea of Make in India was omnipresent during the making of Sholay in 1973 despite the obstacles they battled including government regulations. He said, “During that time you couldn’t do much about that. I wanted to make something that hasn’t been made before and there were good actors and technicians. So we decided not to make any compromise. But we needed certain inputs from western world to help with our actions scenes which needed to be world standard. But facilities were not available in India like the 70mm film and processing. We had to go to England for technicolor. Our soundtrack was something Indian audience wasn’t exposed to before. That’s the feeling I had that time. Listening to PM’s speech I feel I was donned to make this film. There couldn’t be a better time than today for Make in India to make it a reality.”
He also mentioned with the government easing on regulation businesses in this sector can be done with ease. “Also with internet, mobile and so many innovations happening opportunities will only increase. We have to make the most of it, do much more than we have been doing and make India proud.”
This was followed by Rathore’s speech in which he touched upon the leads taken by the government to facilitate the working of this industry. Talking about this industry, the minister feels it’s not only the most promising one but it also touches every single person when it does its work.
Rathore said, “Everything they have been achieving so far has been indigenously done. In 2013 they say business was worth $900 odd billion by 2018 it will be above $1800 bn. Apart from figures its simple logic with large number of people having mobile phones and ever increasing television the platform for media and entertainment is right there in every Indian’s hand.”
Elucidating with an interesting example of a small ‘sleepy’ town belonging to his own constituency- Jaipur Rural, further explaining how the government fits in all this, Rathore added, “In this town Kotputli a mobile retailer sells 80 smartphones out of 100 phones daily. Those are the people who are watching your content. That’s where the essence of the future of this industry lies: the content, innovation, the tech, convergence. In all this the government fits into the regulatory category by being a catalyst.”
He also threw light on some of the steps government has taken in every aspect from revamping the certification board, funding, radio, single window clearances to platform for documentary screening. He said, “We needed to go out and correct CBSC if it’s functioning under the limitation of CBSC act. We had the first meeting with me and Jaitley and the entire committee headed by Shyam Benegal. The whole idea was to open up their horizon and how wide you can go in suggesting us the changes including the staffing of CBFC and the process of how a film is certified. I reiterate that day and today there is not a single alphabet in CBFC for censorship. It’s a certification board. Recently three films that came out from different genres prove our point that audience is wise enough to tackle see and appreciate the film.”
He also mentioned of the government looking to fund movies that goes to Oscar international film festivals; building an independent channel of Doordarshan dedicated to documentaries following his visit to Mumbai International Film Festival; expanding the FM radio coverage in the country from 45 per cent to 65 per cent in next two years; setting up single window clearance, courtesy Film Facilitation Office to expedite the process of getting permission from ministry of defence, railways and archaeology; getting special visas for those who want to come and see the location. “The idea is to bring in the expertise from industry in NFDC and find out the areas that need support from the government,” he says. The government will have 100 new All Indian radio stations in 2016-17. He summed it up by saying, “Content will remain the king and we will keep helping and facilitating you.”
Vats closed the session with his own take on Make in India and said, “At the heart of everything that every Indian does. It was interesting to see honourable prime minister Narendra Modi on Saturday mention the same thing that Make in India is not only supposed to generate jobs to our youth but also a platform to make our youth become job generator and entrepreneur. In this context media and entertainment industry fits in beautifully.”
Vats insisted on the urgency to unleash the potential of the industry which has to be done fast. He made few relevant points by saying, “The government should continue the journey of deregulation. It should have the policies well thought through so that people know what game they are playing, its clear rules and everybody playing the game should win the game. If this industry has to develop then we need to have clearly articulated lay out IPR policy. Good news is that PM is coming up with something soon. We need more physical infrastructure. Make in India event should happen more regularly and frequently in big places. Same applies for films. Also we need to build capacity from the point of view of multi- disciplinary talent because our’s a converge world.”