MIB's role is that of a facilitator for M&E sector: Amit Khare

Khare, MIB Secretary, says, this ministry is one of the smallest in terms of budget but largest in terms of influence, which only comes from the private sector

e4m by Javed Farooqui
Updated: Dec 17, 2020 8:26 AM
Amit Khare

MUMBAI: Ministry of information and broadcasting (MIB) secretary has said that the role of the ministry is that of a facilitator and not of a regulator for the media & entertainment (M&E) industry.

Addressing the CII Big Picture Summit 2020, Khare clarified that the decision of the government to bring OTT content and digital news under MIB was to bring content under one ministry. He also noted that there has been a demand from the industry that all forms of content should be treated similarly.

"The change that was done in November was to bring content in one place under MIB and platforms at another place that is Meity. There used to be a discussion that online and offline content should not be treated differently. The same content, if it is online, is treated in one fashion and if it is offline it is treated by some other ministry in some other manner," Khare said in his opening remarks.

While highlighting the facilitator role of the MIB, he said that the ministry is one of the smallest in terms of budgetary allocation but the largest in terms of influence. "The role of government in this sector is mostly as a facilitator. I keep telling my ministry colleagues that with a budget of Rs 4,000 crores this ministry is one of the smallest in terms of budget but largest in terms of influence and that influence only comes from the private sector," Khare averred.

He also pointed out that all the filmmaking except for a few films made by the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC) is entirely private. Similarly, almost all TV channels barring Prasar Bharati run channels are privately owned. OTT platforms are entirely private.

"M&E industry is entirely privately driven. Just like the IT industry has grown, M&E has also grown as private industry and we must focus and facilitate that private initiative. So, it is not so much of regulation but more of facilitation," he asserted.

Khare also informed that Prasar Bharati and NFDC are considering launching their own OTT platforms.

He also noted that the pandemic has thrown new avenues like the ed-tech sector. Children are getting used to studying with technology and devices and it has opened a new sector altogether.

Another new sector that has opened up is that of online gaming. "Earlier it used to be games from different countries outside but now we are focussing on Indian games because that is another sector which will not only promote the industry within the country it also has export potential."

With the year 2022 being the 75th year of India’s independence, celebrations of which will take place within the country and outside, the Secretary invited the industry to help project India’s soft power through media and entertainment.

He also invited suggestions from stakeholders for the 2021 budget discussions with Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. The ministry has already received suggestions from the Indian Newspaper Society.

"FM is going to have a budget discussion next week. Some of you have already sent the comments and you have been invited there. So if there is something further and if you would like to make that presentation to the FM you may also keep us informed because she would be taking inputs from you as well as the ministry," he said adding, "A lot of things that you desire or feel are necessary perhaps if they are there in the FM's budget speech it would be very helpful to all of us whether it is the ministry or the government."

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