The government will set up a centre of excellence for visual effects and gaming with help from the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay.
Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar told a virtual entertainment summit, organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry, that the I&B ministry has identified the animation, visual effects, gaming and comics (AVGC) sector as a sunrise industry, he said, adding that the centre of excellence would bridge skill gaps through professional training and educational programmes.
Despite growing at an estimated 29-30 per cent per annum, the share of the domestic AVGC industry in the global AVGC market was just one per cent at $2.69 billion (or Rs 20,000 crore/Rs 200 billion), a CII report released during the summit says.
While Indian AVGC professionals have provided backend support to foreign film-makers, it was time they were involved in Indian projects too, Javadekar said.
"Now is the time to do more for our own film industry," he said, adding that AVGC could provide a new dimension to film-making.
The role of AVGC in entertainment gains importance as Indian telecom majors such as Reliance Jio prepare to roll out 5G services by next year.
The pandemic has already accelerated the growth of digital content and over-the-top platforms, with Indian consumers increasingly turning to their smartphones for entertainment needs.
The scale and production value of Indian films has also grown over the last few years as consumers demand more immersive experiences, experts said.
All this provided greater scope for the domestic AVGC sector to grow.
Amit Khare, secretary, information and broadcasting, clarified the government's stand on bringing digital content and news under the I&B ministry during the summit.
"The idea behind the change, which was done in November, was to bring online and offline content at one place," Khare said.
"In the past, there have been discussions that online and offline content should not be treated differently. It was done in order to bring some sort of semblance between the two," the secretary added.
Khare clarified that the government sought to play the role of a facilitator rather than a regulator to help the media and entertainment industry grow.
"The role of government in the industry is mostly as a facilitator. With a budget of around Rs 4,000 crores, the I&B ministry is one of the smallest in terms of budget, but largest in terms of influence," Khare pointed out. "And that influence comes only through the private sector."
"All the film-making in this country, except for a few films made by National Film Development Corporation, is entirely private.
"All the channels, except for Prasar Bharti, are all private.
"Also, if you take the alternative platforms such as OTT, they are entirely private," he said.
*Kindly note the image has been posted only for representational purposes.
Feature Presentation: Ashish Narsale/ Rediff.com