In an attempt to bring convergence into the four independent films related bodies, the Union cabinet, on Wednesday, decided to merge four of its film media units—Films Division, Directorate of Film Festivals, National Film Archives of India, and Children's Film Society—with the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC).
The government said the merger of film media units under a single corporation will lead to synergy in various activities with better and efficient utilisation of existing infrastructure and manpower. “This will lead to reduction in duplication of activities and direct savings to the exchequer,” I&B Minister Prakash Javadekar said.
The cabinet approved expanding the memorandum of articles of association of NFDC, which will allow it carry all the activities performed by other four units. “The merger of film media units under one corporation will lead to convergence of activities and resources and better coordination, thereby ensuring synergy and efficiency in achieving the mandate of each media unit,” the cabinet statement said.
The Films Division and the Children's Film Society were formed during the tenure of first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru. The Films Division is a subordinate office under the information and broadcasting ministry. It was established in 1948, primarily to produce documentaries and news magazines for publicity of government programmes and cinematic record of Indian history. The Children's Film Society, India, an autonomous organisation, was founded in 1955 under the societies act with the specific objective of providing children and young people value-based entertainment through the medium of films.
The National Film Archives of India, another subordinate office under the I&B ministry, was established as a media unit in 1964 with the primary objective of acquiring and preserving Indian cinematic heritage. The Directorate of Film Festivals, as attached office of M/o I&B was set up in 1973 to promote Indian films and cultural exchange. The directorate organises the National Film Awards and the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, and the annual International Film Festival of India at Goa.
The Modi government has been trying to merge different units to bring single brand name which can work better. The NFDC is a central public sector undertaking, incorporated in the year 1975 with the primary object of planning and promoting an organised, efficient and integrated development of the Indian Film Industry. The NFDC has produced a number of films which have won several national and international awards. The movie Gandhi was produced by NFDC which won several Oscar awards.
For smoother merger of these media units, the cabinet also approved the the appointment of a transaction advisor and legal advisor to advise on the transfer of assets and employees and to oversee all aspects of operationalization of the merger.
The umbrella organisation, NFDC, consequent upon the merger of film media units will be uniquely placed with regard to promotion, production and preservation of film content, all under one management. The vision of the new entity will be to ensure balanced and focused development of Indian cinema in all its genres, including films /content for the OTT platforms, children's content, animation, short films and documentaries, officials said.
The government assured that while undertaking this exercise of convergence, interests of the employees of all the concerned media units will be fully taken care and no employee will be retrenched.