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Centre Orders Closure of Films Division, Three Other Cinema-related Units by January

The I&B Ministry announced that these organisations and the Directorate would be merged with the National Film Development Corporation.
Centre Orders Closure of Films Division, Three Other Cinema-related Units by January

Image Courtesy: The Financial Express

In less than two months, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting will close all the branches of the Films Division, National Film Archive of India(NFAI), Directorate of Film Festivals, and Children’s Film Society of India, the reported.

The Ministry had announced in December 2020 that these organisations and the Directorate would be merged with the National Film Development Corporation--the agency that produces art house movies and operated the co-production platform Film Bazaar.

On Monday, the Chief Executive Officer of the Central Board of Film Certification, Ravinder Bhaskar, took charge of the NFDC, Films Division, and Children’s Film Society of India (CFSI). The Ministry had last week appointed Bhaskar as the Managing Director of the NFDC, Director General of the Films Division, and CEO of CFSI. This was done in a bid to bring all the film-related departments of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting under a singular command. The Ministry is headquartered in Mumbai. 

“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 Ministry had  reportedly said in a statement last year.

Earlier on December 9, the Ministry wrote to the organisations to be merged, asking them to prepare a detailed action plan for the closure of their branch offices.

A senior official of the Films Division told that over 400 employees of these organisations across Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, and other cities would be affected by this decision.

Meanwhile, Rajya Sabha MP John Brittas has written to Anurag Singh Thakur, Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting & Youth Affairs and Sports, expressing concerns about the merger of the different institutes and departments with the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC). According to Brittas, the merger is a deviation from the recommendations given by the Bimal Julka Committee Report. there are “grievous allegations and reasonable apprehensions and suspicions” being raised over the proposed merger, he said. 

Brittas questioned how NFDC, which is registered under the Companies Act and has to generate profit for its operation and sustainability, could undertake projects and works of a “non-profit nature like preservation of Archives of invaluable films, etc. and non-profit activities being performed by FD (Films Division) & DFF (Directorate of Film Festivals)”.  

Claiming that the above argument has “cast a shadow on the whole process”, Brittas said that the “non-profit oriented activities are highly inevitable for the Country for the preservation of its rich heritage as well as for promoting qualitative ventures rather than mere focusing on commercial productions or profits. It cannot be measured in terms of money.”

He underlined that the Films Division and NFAI housed a huge amount of “national treasure in terms of recording the Audio Visual History of this Nation from pre-independent period till now”. He argued that any closure of such government-run organisations or its operations was a “means to erase, in a slow manner, the audio-visual record of this Nation.” 

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