India sets aside $100 mil for film, TV efforts

Upgrades, documentary production among plans

NEW DELHI -- India's Information and Broadcasting Ministry has budgeted $100 million from the government's ongoing five-year economic development plan for its films division, an I&B official said Thursday.

The 11th five-year economic plan spans from 2007-12.

Of this amount, about $44 million will fund projects such as the establishment of a Center of Excellence in Animation, Gaming and Visual Effects -- budgeted at $11 million.

I&B Ministry joint secretary V. B. Pyarelal added that the ministry also planned to spend $11 million upgrading one of India's premier film schools, the government-backed Film and Television Institute of India based in Pune, near Mumbai. A similar amount will fund a planned film and TV museum in Mumbai, while $9.3 million will be used to upgrade the Satyajit Ray Film Institute in Kolkata. The government's National Film Development Corp., meanwhile, will receive a budget of $6.6 million including an additional $4.4 million to produce documentaries.

In April, the I&B Ministry stated that it has earmarked $2.75 million to help promote Indian films at overseas festivals.