Deliverables for the year 2017-18 should be identified to make efforts to achieve the physical targets made under the Scheme for a National Centre of Excellence for Animation, Gaming and VFX by productive utilisation of enhanced budget of Rs 600 million, a Parliamentary Committee has said.
Wanting the project to be completed at the earliest to achieve the avowed objective, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology which also examines issues relating to Information and Broadcasting Ministry has said that the Public-Private Partnership Model in this field is a welcome move from the side of the Ministry and it would certainly help the sector to grow at a better pace.
The main secretariat for this Centre was approved by the Standing Finance Committee (SFC) on 27 December, 2016. As a result the entire budget for the film sector has been increased in 2017-18 to Rs 2.07 billion at budget estimate stage, which is more than the allocation made at BE during the previous year.
IIMC identified as nodal agency
The Committee was informed that the Indian Institute of Mass Communication has been identified as the nodal agency and this is also responsible for overall monitoring. Land for the project has been identified in the Film City in Goregaon in Mumbai and the Maharashtra Government is in advanced stage of providing land to the Ministry.
The Committee was told that the budgetary allocation of Rs 51 million for 2016-17 under the Scheme was reduced to Rs 10 million at the revised estimates stage of which the Ministry have not incurred any expenditure as on 31 January, 2017. The Scheme was approved with a total outlay of Rs 1.677 billion on 1 November, 2016.
Asked about the under-utilisation of funds, the Ministry told the Committee that this occurred due to consultation with different stakeholders and the need for rewarding to Request for Proposal for selection of partners for implementation of Scheme and hence funds could not be utilised. The RFP for selection of private partner for implementation of the Scheme was published by IIMC on 3 February, 2017.
The Ministry said the Scheme envisages creation of corpus fund which is to be utilised for meeting expenses towards scholarships, stipends to doctoral students, facility development expenses, pre-operation expenses etc in the initial years that has caused hike in allocation.
The physical targets proposed to be achieved in 2017-18 include identification of private partners, taking over the land, finalisation of Plans, approval of local authorities, engagement of contractors and commencement of construction works of Infrastructure etc.
This Centre is going to be a world class centre benefiting everyone in the field of animation and also bringing India into the global map of animation industry. The Ministry have informed that the project envisages effective role for private agency as the private operator will meet operational expenditure towards upkeep and maintenance of infrastructure.
On being asked about the measures taken to utilise the fund effectively under Public-Private Partnership Model, the Ministry said the proposed project of the National Centre envisages creation of necessary infrastructure, meeting the pre-operation expenditure as well as meeting certain operational expenditure by the Government. The responsibility of the private operator is to meet the operational expenditure and the expenditure towards upkeep and maintenance of the infrastructure and its maintenance.