India Ministers Reveal Ambitious Plans For Single Window Clearance

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GOA — India has set an ambitious timeline for implementing the ‘single window clearance’ system of streamlined permits for international and domestic productions wishing to shoot in the country.

The Film Facilitation Office (FFO) that was launched last week at the National Film Development Corporation’s Film Bazaar in Goa will be fully operational in four months, Information & Broadcasting Secretary Sunil Arora told Variety.

The Bazaar is currently hosting a symposium with Indian key permission givers including the Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, the Archaeological Survey of India, the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Railways. Also participating were filmmakers Sudhir Mishra, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, Ramesh Sippy, Anubhav Sinha, Shekhar Kapur and Shyam Benegal, and Pravesh Sahni from line production company India Take One, whose credits include “Life of Pi” and “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol”.

Arora said that the next step would be to get all the stakeholders involved to meet representatives from the film industry in December and hammer out a plan for speedy implementation of the FFO initiative.

Given the vast and diverse nature of India, and the attendant bureaucratic roadblocks, four months is a remarkably quick turnaround time, but Arora is optimistic that it will happen and is aggressively driving the process.

“We will do our level best to connect the dots,” said Arora. “For us it is a calibrated leap of faith, not a leap in the dark.”

Earlier, at the launch of the FFO, Ministry of Tourism Secretary Vinod Zutshi revealed that after the scheme is implemented at the central government level, it would be rolled out across India’s 36 states and territories as well. The Ministry of Tourism is also encouraging states to offer financial benefits for shooting.

“The first thing we need to do is change the attitude of the ministries,” said I&B Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore. He described “cold war thinking”, and said that the bodies needed to stop being territorial.

“The I&B is completely charged up to make this happen. It is not going to be easy, but we will make every effort to be successful. We will adapt and we will evolve. We will falter but we will succeed over time,” said Rathore.

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