A task Force, set up on the directions of Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, has observed that the number of cinema screens in India is woefully low and suggested that steps must be taken to open new screens across the country, especially in the remote areas and smaller cities. The task force was set up to suggest measures to enhance the innovation ecosystem in India and thus improve India’s ranking in the the Global Innovation Index (GII).

Noting India’s ranking of 54 out of 128 countries in the GII 2016 in the parameter of ‘national feature films produced’, the task force recommended that in order to improve the country’s prospects in this regard, steps should be taken by State governments to incentivize new screens as also conversion of single screen theatres into multi-screen complexes.

“Having more screens will give an incentive to produce more films,” said the task force, comprising government officials, experts from private organisations and academia. The panel included, among others, Rajiv Aggarwal, Joint Secretary, Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion, Naushad Forbes, Co-Chairman, Forbes Marshall, Gopichand Katragadda, Group Chief Technology Officer and Innovation Head for Tata Sons, and Senapathy “Kris” Gopalakrishnan, Chairman of Axilor Ventures.

To improve India’s ranking from 45th in the indicator ‘cultural & creative services exports’ (in the GII 2016), the task force said steps should be taken towards encouraging India’s participation in exhibitions and events conducted worldwide in this regard. It also suggested that “India should come up with an e-platform, exclusively for showcasing Indian culture via movies, songs and images. This platform can also facilitate e-marketplace for indigenous artistic creatives.” Further, it recommended that more Indian cultural centers should be established abroad, adding that in this regard, Indian embassies can organise cultural programs and competitions.

To improve the country’s rank from 59th in the ‘global entertainment & media market’ indicator, the task force pointed out that the Indian media and the entertainment industry was on an impressive growth path, adding that, “we need to ensure that this healthy growth is maintained.”

The revenue from advertising is expected to grow at a CAGR of 13 percent and will exceed Rs 81,600 crores (USD 12.24 billion) in 2019 from Rs 41,400 crore (USD 6.21 billion) in 2014, it said. The government’s new move on digitising the cable distribution sector to attract greater institutional funding, increasing FDI limit from 74 percent to 100 percent in cable and DTH satellite platforms, and granting industry status to the film industry for easy access to institutional finance will further strengthen the India’s position worldwide in this Indicator, the report said. Also, Digital India and Smart City initiatives are working towards increasing Internet accessibility to remote areas, which will further increase the entertainment market in India, it added.

On India’s rank of 87 in the ‘Information and communication technology (ICT) and business model creation’ and 64 in ‘ICTs and organisation model creation’ in the GII 2016, the report said “given the fact that India is ranked first in indicator ICT service export, clearly the rank of India in this indicator is not reflecting the true potential of India.”

Quantitative methodology like number of industries with an ICT– based business model in the country per thousand industries can be considered, it added. – The Hindu