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Animation, gaming sector gets leg-up; likely to see more jobs

The budget proposal to set up an animation, visual effects, gaming and comics (AVGC) promotion task force will help the industry to further consolidate its position in the media and entertainment industry.

Industry experts welcomed the move, saying it could help create millions of jobs and fast track the growth of the sector.

“The AVGC task force will help India achieve its potential to generate two million jobs, according to our projections. These are critical skills for the growth of the metaverse, and India is poised to take advantage of this ecosystem,” Jehil Thakkar, partner at Deloitte India, said.

Manvendra Shukul, chief executive of Lakshya Digital , a firm that offers animation and visual effects for game developers in India, opined that the AVGC industry has great potential to offer a high number of jobs, thereby generating good revenues for India. “The creation of the AVGC task force is among the first steps that needs to be taken to capitalize on India’s inherent strength in this space. Selection of the right people from each of the segments of the AVGC industry will be key to the success of this much needed initiative,” he added.

The potential to generate jobs by AVGC companies in India has been reflected previously as well, with gaming firms in the country ramping up hiring in 2020 — particularly after the first wave of the pandemic.

According to a November 2021 report by the India Brand Equity Foundation, the sector is growing at a brisk pace and is expected to touch the $4 billion mark by 2023 from nearly $2 billion in 2020, primarily on the back of rising demand from the gaming and over-the-top video streaming platforms.

The report said while the media and entertainment sector was worth $18.64 billion in 2020, with online gaming and visual effects accounting for $1.11 billion and $745.6 million, respectively, it was projected to grow to $29.81 billion by 2023, with online gaming and visual effects contributing $2.09 billion and $1.79 billion, respectively, outpacing the average growth of the media industry.

Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, in her budget speech, said the proposed task force will look to realize the “immense potential to employ youth”.

According to Sai Srinivas, chief executive of mobile gaming and esports startup Mobile Premier League, the task force can help develop “deep tech intellectual property” to service export demand. “A progressive tax regime, predictable regulatory framework and supportive funding policies will allow the industry to compete on the world stage. It will also help develop a workforce of young and employable AVGC professionals,” he said.

“The Centre will need to focus big time on tax exemptions, and setting up rules for the workings of the industry,” said Pranay Agarwal, head, compositing for India, at visual effects and animation studio DNEG.

India is home to both international and domestic gaming and visual effects studios, such as Ubisoft, Prime Focus, Jetsynthesis, and Prana Studios.

In November 2021, Apurva Chandra, secretary, ministry of information and broadcasting, had said at the Big Picture Summit organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry that the government was working on setting up a National Centre of Excellence for the AVGC industry.

In January, Karnataka was the first state to set up an AVGC centre of excellence. At the inauguration, C.N. Ashwath Narayan, the state’s minister of science and technology, said India currently has a 10% market share in the global AVGC industry, and potential to capture 25% of the market by 2027. Live Mint

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