Karnataka Government announces KAVGC Policy; Sets VC fund of INR 50 crores

The persistence and efforts of the Karnataka Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming and Comics (AVGC) Industry professionals and dedicated industry bodies like Association of Bangalore Animation Industry (ABAI) has paid off as the Karnataka Government has recently announced its first dedicated AVGC policy. The policy which has been in discussion for quite a long time now has addressed some of the key needs of the industry including Venture Capital Funding, Establishment of Center of Excellence, allotment of AVGC SEZ amongst others. M.N.Vidyashankar, Principal Secretary, e-Governance Department, IT, BT and S&T Dept shared with AnimationXpress.com, “The implementation of the policy will be with a sub-committee comprising of members from the industry, the industry body and Government. The Committee will be constituted immediately after the first meeting with ABAI which is scheduled for this week.” Under this policy State Government will provide funding/ financial assistance for IP Creation (INR 1 crore), Delegations to Animation Seminars and Conferences (INR 40 lakhs per annum for 5 years), training workshops and sessions (INR 1 crore) and setting up of Digital Art Centres (INR 5 crores). The policy aims at manpower development, setting up of necessary infrastructure and capturing a large share of the outsourced international AVGC production. Karnataka Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming and Comics Policy shall come into force with immediate effect and shall remain in force for a period of 5 years or till its revision. Biren Ghose, President, ABAI shares, “The Karnataka Animation Visual Effects Gaming Comics Policy is a landmark legislation in an industry that has enormous scope and opportunity. Quality human resources, technologies for production, encouragement for entrepreneurs and funding new initiatives are all cornerstones for development. The policy addresses all these areas including grass root development at the academic level. Congratulations to the government for being far sighted in taking this lead – a 1st in India. Karnataka & Bangalore will now have a competitive edge given that this policy provides impetus in areas not addressed before.” The policy will also address the need of Venture Capital fund. A VC fund for the KAVGC sector would be set up with an initial fund of INR 50 crores which would be funded jointly by the Government of Karnataka with Private Venture Capitalists with Government contribution of 26%, to meet the needs of the Entrepreneurs in the state of Karnataka. The eligibility to avail financial assistance from the fund would depend on the technical excellence and marketability of the Project and a Committee comprising of CEO, KITVEN, President, ABAI, President, Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce, Secretary, Karnataka Chitrakala Parishad and a representative of the Dept of IT & BT, Govt. of Karnataka would be members. According to the KAVGC Policy, AVGC Public and Private Parks will be promoted on the SEZ identified locations/ facilities where infrastructure and land would be made available to entrepreneurs. Also adequate extent of land will be earmarked for the AVGC sector in the proposed ITIR near Bangalore International Airport. The policy also offers various Fiscal Incentives and Concessions. Government will provide an amount of INR 10 lakhs to each of the identified 10 Art Schools in the districts of Gulbarga, Bidar, Belgaum, Dharwad, Gadag, Raichur, Bellary, Chitradurga, Chamarajanagar and Tumkur for procurement of computer systems and related software/ instruments to digitize the Art teaching process. Applications will be invited from Art Schools and a committee comprising of – Director, Dept of IT & BT, GoK- Chairman; Chairman, Karnataka Chalanachitra Academy; Director, Dept of Kannada and Culture, GoK; Director, Dept of Information, GoK; President, ABAI; and any other invitee to be decided by Chairman (Director IT & BT)- would select the eligible schools. The policy also states the setting up of an AVGC expert panel (AVGC-EP) comprising of experienced AVGC industry professionals from India and abroad to study, research and report on the current trends and future requirements of the industry with respect to standardization of training, internships and mentoring programs to be initiated. It will also prepare a recommendation for introduction and development of standardized AVGC curriculum in pre-university and technical courses. 10 fine art colleges across Karnataka would be identified as Digital Art Centres (DAC) to implement digital art and animation curriculum. DACs will have 20 seater training capacity and will run on Public Private Partnership (PPP) model with Government of Karnataka providing 25% and the private funding of 75% of the total cost. The Policy also states the setting up of a KAVGC Center of Excellence on PPP model in Bangalore. It will have a Finishing Academy cum Incubation Centre and a Post Production and Digital Intermediary Facility, to be set up in two phases. In Phase 1 Finishing Academy cum Incubation Centre will be set up of which the estimated cost is INR 50 crores. In Phase 2 Post Production and DI Facility will be set up with the estimated cost of INR 30 crores. The AVGC Centre of Excellence will be set up on 10-15 acres of land and will receive the financial contribution in the proportion of 20% by State Government, 30% by Central Government and 50% by Industry private partners. About the Policy and its benefits Balakrishna M.R., Vice President, ABAI says, “Having partnered with the Government of Karnataka in the process of drafting and redrafting the policy proposal for the past 2 to 3 years, we at ABAI compliment the First State Govt i.e. Govt of karnataka on having taken this unique step in encouraging the sector. We feel the Exclusive Policy on AVGC would not only boost the export business but also paves way for the increased domestic business. We should see a dramatic upswing in the development of talent and business as a result. We at ABAI will continue to work together with the government to exercise this policy.” The AVGC policy of Karnataka will lay the foundation to recognize the AVGC sector as an upcoming and high growth potential industry in the state. It aims to increase the efforts of enhancing investment and growth in the sector and promote job opportunities for the rural artist population of Karnataka apart from generating career opportunities for the urban youth.