The Ministry of I &B as the facilitator for the media in Broadcast, Film and Print sectors carried forward its mandate, taking significant policy initiatives and administrative measures in the year 2009. Global attention in 2009 was focussed on Indian film sector when ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ and ‘Smile Pinky’ Team bagged the prestigious Oscar Awards. The year also saw completion of 50 years of Public Service Broadcasting, 50 years of setting up of Directorate of Field publicity as also commemoration of 75 years of Assamese Cinema at the 40th edition of International Film Festival of India.
A 27% increase was effected in the budget outlay of 2009-10 for Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. A total of Rs. 2568 crores has been allocated to Ministry of I&B in FY 2009-10, including plan funds of Rs. 800 crore which provided Rs. 519 crore for Broadcasting Sector, Rs. 66 crore for Information Sector, Rs.60 crore for Film Sector and a provision of Rs. 155 crore for Commonwealth Games and related programmes. Special attention was given to Jammu & Kashmir and North East package in respect of Prasar Bharati. Considering the importance of reaching out to J&K and other border areas, a new scheme, worth Rs 100 crore, was introduced for setting up of High Power TV and FM Transmitters in border areas and Low Power FM Transmitters in uncovered areas of J&K State.
After obtaining Union Cabinet’s approval to issue policy guidelines for Headend-in-the-Sky (HITS) operators, the guidelines were announced on 26th November 2009. HITS is a digital delivery mode of distribution and would speed up the process of digitalization of cable services located in Non-CAS areas of the country. HITS would not only help increase the penetration of cable market further into rural areas where it has been absent because of unviability but will also help in further reduction of prices of set top boxes and will also lead to further consolidation of the cable market. In addition, HITS would help a subscriber with a wide choice of digital channels, better picture quality and value added services at affordable price. HITS would provide greater channel capacity from the present limited capacity of channels placed in prime/non prime band.
PRIVATE SATELLITE TV CHANNELS
In 2009 the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting has so far permitted 77 private satellite TV channels to uplink/downlink under up linking and down linking guidelines, taking the total number of channels to 512. Of these 249 are news channels and 263 are non-news channels. Till date permission has been given to set up nearly 75 Teleports.
Over one hundred and thirty Advisories/Warnings/Orders were issued to various TV channels for violation of the Programme and Advertising Codes prescribed under the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 and rules framed there under. So far Six State Monitoring Committee and 67 District level Committee have been constituted to review and deliberate on the litany of complaints received by authorized officer or take suo-motu cognizance of violations transmitted and re-transmitted in the local channels.
EXPANSION OF DTH SERVICE
During the year, initiative has been taken to expand the DD bouquet of Free-to-Air Direct-To-Home Service ‘DD Direct +’, to include nearly 200 channels (up from the earlier package of 59 channels). Now six private companies are offering DTH services in the country – M/s Bharat Business Channel Ltd having started their operations during July 2009.
AUTONOMOUS BODY FOR BROADCASTING SECTOR
The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting initiated wide ranging consultations with stakeholders for arriving at a consensus on the issue of regulating the content of television news channels or to create an independent autonomous body to look into all aspects of the broadcasting sector. The Ministry held consultations with Indian Broadcasting Foundation, Multi System Operator (MSO) Alliance, News Broadcasters Association (NBA), Broadcast Editors Association (BEA) and the Cable Operators Federation of India (COFI). A Task Force on Content Code/Broadcasting authority comprising members from the Indian Broadcasting Foundation, Broadcast Editors’ Association and News Broadcasters Association along with Ministry officers has been recently constituted to take the matter forward.
The XXVIIth State Information Ministers Conference held on December 5, 2009 concluded with general consensus on Digitalization in Broadcasting sector especially in the cable sector; need for contemporized Press and Registration of Books Act; need for effective laws for curbing piracy right from the source; rationalization of entertainment tax across States and subsuming it in Goods and Services tax (GST) and a general acceptance on the need for an independent, autonomous and credible Broadcast sector Regulator. However some stakeholders felt that a Regulator imposed by the Government may not be the ideal solution as it could be a double-edged weapon. It was felt that if co-regulation is introduced, spirit of self-regulation should overwhelmingly guide its character. The SIMCON platform provides an opportunity to discuss issues keeping in mind the perspective of State Governments. This biennial Conference was attended by Ministers/ Official representatives from over 30 States. The Conference for the first time saw participation from prominent experts and stakeholders from the print, film and broadcast media industry.
COMMUNITY RADIO STATIONS
For setting up Community Radio Stations (CRS), 20 letters of Intent have been issued in this year and 189 LOIs as yet. So far 584 applications, including 240 applications from educational institutions have been received from various organizations for setting up CRSs. 48 Community Radio Stations are presently functioning in the country under the Ministry’s initiative of setting up Community Radio Stations to provide an opportunity to the local communities to express themselves and share their views. Six state level consultations for Community Radio Awareness have also been organised by the Ministry during the year.
There are 172 FM Radio Channels of AIR and 251 private FM Radio Channels in the Country. Government earned revenue of Rs 236.16 crores from AIR FM Satiations till September 2009. Similarly from private FM radio Stations Government earned revenue of Rs 133 crores between 2006 and September 2009. To further utilize the frequency spectrum earmarked for private FM radio broadcasting, efforts are on to launch the Private FM Phase –III policy. The Ministry has initiated a draft Cabinet note on Phase III of private FM radio broadcasting which is at the stage of inter-ministerial consultation.
COVERAGE OF CWG
Prasar Bharati has been appointed as the Host Broadcaster by the Organizing Committee for the Common Wealth Games (CWG) 2010 coverage. Prasar Bharati has formulated a comprehensive plan for ensuring coverage of CWG. The work of Production and Coverage in HDTV format has been awarded to international consultants having the necessary expertise as per the terms and conditions set forth by the Organizing Committee. Press Information Bureau has engaged the services of Broadcast Engineering Consultants India Limited (BECIL) for setting up the Main Press Centre which in turn has engaged the services of an architectural consultant and an International Media Consultant. An outlay of Rs 482.57 crs has been provided for various tasks to be performed by the Prasar Bharati, the Press Information Bureau and the India Trade Promotion Organization.
Many accolades were won by the Indian film industry during the year 2009. History was created when the ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ and ‘Smile Pinky’ Team bagged the prestigious Oscar Awards bringing global attention on Indian film sector. The Slumdog Millionaire brought Best Original Song title for A R Rahman and Gulzar; Best Original Score credit for A R Rahman as also the Best Sound Mixing award for FTII alumni Resul Pookutty.The film overall won the best picture Academy Award and 7 other Oscars. The made in India documentary ‘Smile Pinky’ won an Oscar the ‘Best Short Documentary’ category at the 81st Academy Awards.
Mudhal Mudhal Mudhal Varai (Tamil) the Indian entry in the Cairo International Film Festival won the Silver Award. India was the “Guest of Honour” country at the Cairo Film Festival .
The Platinum Jubilee of Assamese Cinema was commemorated at 40th International Film Festival of India 2009. For the first time in the International Film Festival of India, Goa 39 films on classical film music and its exponents were showcased in the special section called “Moments with The Maestros”.
The 40th Edition of International Film Festival of India (IFFI) was held at Goa from 23rd November to 3rd December, 2009. The Best Film Award in the Competition Section for Asia, Asia Pacific, Africa and Latin America went to the film ‘I can’t live without you’ (Taiwan). The Best Director Award was given to Ms. Ounie Lecomte for the film ‘A Brand New Life’ (South Korea/France). The Special Jury Award went to the Director of the film ‘The Other Bank’ (Georgia/Kazakhstan), Mr. George Ovashvili.
The 55th National Film Awards for the year 2007 were presented by H.E. President of India on 21.10.2009. The Best Film Award went to the Tamil film ‘Kanchivaram’. The Best Actor Award went to Shri Prakash Raj and the Best Actress Award to Ms. Umashree. Sharad Goekar was declared the Best Child Artist for 2007. The Dada Saheb Phalke Award for the year 2007 was given to the eminent singer Shri Manna Dey. Efforts are also underway to finalize the National Film Awards 2008 during the current financial year.
The Ministry has constituted two Expert Committees for up gradation of National Film Awards (NFA) as also for up gradation of International Film Festival of India (IFFI). The Expert Committee for National Film Awards shall make recommendations regarding upgradation of National Film Awards for Feature, Non-Feature and Best writing on Cinema and the Dada Saheb Phalke Award and the resultant changes to be made in the Regulations thereto. The Expert Committee constituted for IFFI shall make recommendations regarding up gradation of International Film Festival of India on the lines of other reputed International Festivals and the resultant changes to be made in the Regulations thereto. The Committee shall also make recommendations regarding the changes to be made in the selection of Indian Panorama films both feature and non-feature categories and resultant changes to be made in the Indian Panorama Regulations.
The 16th International Children’s Film Festival, “The Golden Elephant”was held in Hyderabad from the 14th Nov’09 to 20th Nov’09 in association with the Andhra Pradesh Government. In the span of one year, CFSI managed to reach more than 34 lakh children across India with 12675 shows organized over a period of one year. CFSI’s film ‘Foto’ won the National Award for Best film in the children’s category in the 55th National Films Award, 2007.
FOREIGN FILM PRODUCTIONS
More than 90 foreign film productions have been cleared for shooting in different locations in India over the last three years. Permission was granted to 22 foreign film productions in 2006, 27 each in 2007 and 2008 and 17 already in 2009. Of these, 33 productions are of UK based organizations, 17 of US origin. The other productions relate to France, Canada, Netherlands, Germany, Japan, Russia, Georgia, Italy, Israel, Bangladesh and Pakistan among others.
TASK FORCE ON PIRACY
A seven member Task Force under the Chairmanship of Special Secretary has been set up to recommend measures to combat film, video, cable and music piracy. The Task Force is scheduled to submit its recommendations by June 2010.
MUSEUM OF MOVING IMAGES (MOMI)
Efforts have been initiated to set up a Museum of Moving Images (MOMI), at an estimated cost of Rs. 131.40 crores, with the objective of showcasing of the history and development of Indian cinema through the ages in the Films Division Complex at Mumbai. The Museum is likely to be set up by the end of 11th Plan period.
The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting for the first time gave approval for the publication of the facsimile edition of foreign newspapers by allowing the publication of “The Wall Street Journal” and “The Wall Street Journal Asia”. During the year, publication of Indian edition of the foreign magazine ‘Spectator’ under title “Spectator India”, dealing with News and Current Affairs by M/s Telegraph Publications Private Limited was also granted. Permission has also been given in 2009 for publication of Indian editions of 32 foreign magazines/journals under speciality/technical/scientific category and for 12 new magazines under this category by Indian companies with foreign investment in them.
Recognising the hardships caused by the overall recession, the Ministry of I &B granted a stimulus package enhancing the existing rates for the DAVP advertisements on the demand of captains of media industry. The fiscal stimulus package for the Print Media included waiver of 15% Agency Commission on DAVP advertisements and a 10% increase in the DAVP rates.
ELECTRONIC MEDIA ADVERTISEMENT POLICY
A change has also been effected in clause 3 of the Electronic Media advertisement Policy of the Government in so far as National Film Development Corporation has also been authorized to issue audio visual advertisements of various Ministries/Departments in addition to DAVP.
INDIAN INSTITUTE OF MASS COMMUNICATION EXPANSION
With a view to encourage better career training opportunities and making more employment options available to the youth, the Ministry announced setting up of four more branches of The Indian Institute of Mass Communication, New Delhi. The modalities for setting up the proposed branches – one each in Jammu & Kashmir, Mizoram as also one each in the Southern and Western India have been initiated. The IIMC would also be upgraded as an International Media University.
DIRECTORATE OF FIELD PUBLICITY
The Directorate of Field Publicity (DFP) completed 50 years of its inception. To mark this occasion, the Directorate, in October 2009, organised a three-day National Workshop of its 22 Regional Heads and personnel of all 207 field units on new techniques in inter-personal communications and the flagship programmes of the Central Government. Dte. of Field Publicity’s new brochure “Empowering People Through Interpersonal Communication” and also the new online feedback software between headquarters and regional, field units to mark the 50th anniversary of Dte. of Field Publicity was started.
The 3rd Editors’ meet at Srinagar was organised by the Press Information Bureau. Press Information Bureau has been organising meets with Editors at Delhi on Economic Issues and Social Sector issues. It is only recently that the ambit has been expanded to organize such events in Srinagar also for effective sensitization about the development initiatives by the Government undertaken the State of Jammu & Kashmir.
PUBLIC INFORMATION CAMPAIGNS
Press Information Bureau organized nearly 60 Public Information Campaigns on flagships programmes like Bharat Nirman, NREGA, NRHM, SSA during 2009. PICs ensure direct contact with the “Aam Aadmi” and seek to empower ordinary citizen particularly from the rural areas with knowledge of the flagship programmes so that they can avail the advantages of these programmes to improve the quality of their life. Such PICs have been held at 316 locations across the country as yet.
NATIONAL PHOTO CONTEST
The 22nd National Photo Contest was organized by Photo Division, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting on the theme “Badhte Kadam: A vision of hope”. A total number of 1575 photographs were received from 391 participants from 24 States and UTs.
ONLINE PRESS ACCREDITATION
The Press Information Bureau launched an Online System for applying for press accreditation and for renewal of Press Cards for the year 2010. The journalists eligible for Central Press Accreditation will now be able to file their applications online from anywhere.
A unique calendar of digitally produced line drawings on the theme ‘empowerment of women through flagship and other programmes of Government of India’ was printed by DAVP for the year 2010. Each month’s calendar leaf deals with one programme of the government and depicts the role of women in it.
‘SPREADING THE MESSAGE’
To disseminate information regarding the key programmes and policies of the Government in the Information, Broadcasting and Film Sectors, the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, for the first time, brought out a publication “Spreading the Message”. The compendium provides a comprehensive understanding of the policy initiatives taken by the Ministry in the light of the changing profile of the media and entertainment industry.
(According to the press release issued by Min of I&B)