NEW DELHI :
The animation, visual effects and gaming sectors are critical to India’s media and entertainment industry growth in terms of innovation and job creation, said senior government officials on Tuesday. Speaking at the Global AVGC Summit for the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), representatives of the ministry of information and broadcasting said they are not only working with the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay to develop a centre for training and content creation in animation and gaming that should come up in a couple of years but are also drafting a national AVGC (animation, visual effects, gaming) policy.

“AVGC is a promising and fast-growing sector that India has great opportunity to develop,” said union I&B minister Prakash Javadekar, who sent a video message since he couldn’t be at the summit in person. “Like Bollywood, music, and IT, this is soft power that can emerge as a major revenue generator.”

Javadekar referred to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Mann Ki Baat address this Sunday where the latter had urged home-grown start-ups to team up and make toys for the entire world indigenously . Javadekar said the call for an “Atmanirbhar Bharat” or self-reliant India also includes games seeped in Indian traditions “that can change the way children learn.”

While noting that the animation industry is a $2 billion business in India, K Madhavan, chairman, CII National Committee on Media and Entertainment and managing director, Star India Pvt Ltd and Disney India said the government should look at abolishing or reducing tax on local products to help developing industries like animation and gaming. Madhavan also emphasized on the need for the Centre to work with states to develop SEZs (special economic zones) for animation and gaming content.

“The government is looking to act as a facilitator, not regulator in the AVGC sector since the area is creative and largely private-led,” Amit Khare, secretary, I&B ministry said while noting that the Indian M&E sector may be growing at 9% annually but animation and VFX alone is clocking 29% growth.

The covid-19 pandemic has compelled several content creators to turn to animation and VFX, as the work can be done from home and the technologies involved can reduce the time and cost for film shoots.

Addressing the anxiety and concerns within the film production and exhibition sector raised by Siddharth Roy Kapur, co-chairman, CII National Committee on media and entertainment, Khare said the government was ready with SOPs (standard operating procedures) on cinemas, like with film, TV and web shoots and was waiting for clearance from the home ministry since reopening is priority for them too.

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