By Akshay Marwah and Mohit Marwah.
The new draft policy for the Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming, and Comics (AVGC) and Extended Reality (ER) sector, launched by the Centre in December 2022 at the national and state level, aims to boost India’s domestic capacity and develop opportunities in the industry.
The AVGC industry in India has gained tremendous momentum in recent years. As a result, supporting its growth and developing a support ecosystem for the industry has been the need of the hour. As a part of the more prominent media and entertainment sector, the AVGC segment offers incredible potential, especially when it comes to employing youth. It is reported to employ over 20 lakh people in the next ten years, with the sector also expected to witness a growth rate of 16-17%.
These factors are why experts have called for collaborations in academia, co-production, technology, policy & research. It is predicted that it will not only leverage the existing industry expertise but also help boost domestic capacities and develop the opportunity landscape.
THINK LOCAL, SERVE GLOBAL
The AVGC draft policy talks about framing a new curriculum at school and college levels to pave the way for a “Create in India” campaign. The exclusive focus is on content creation, In India, For India & For World.
In April 2020, the AVGC Promotion Task Force was constituted by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to promote the sector, and some of the noted recommendations included:
Domestic Industry Development for Global Access
For India to become a global hub for AVGC, the need was to institute an International AVGC Platform, along with a Gaming Expo, and focus on FDI, Co-production treaties, and Innovation. It was also essential to establish a National Centre of Excellence (COE) for the AVGC sector to become an international reference point across Skilling, Education, Industry Development, and Research & Innovation.
Developing Talent ecosystem to realize Demographic Dividends
It involves leveraging the National Education Policy (NEP) to develop creative thinking with dedicated AVGC course content at school levels. This helps in building foundational skills and creating awareness around AVGC careers. Another way is to launch AVGC-focused Undergraduate and postgraduate courses with standard curriculum and globally recognized degrees.
Improving technology and financial stability for the Indian AVGC industry
It includes democratizing AVGC tech by promoting subscription-based pricing models for MSME, Start-Ups, and institutions. To incentivize AVGC hardware manufacturers, Production Linked Incentives (PLI) schemes can also be evaluated. This can be done alongside leveraging Start-Up India to provide technical, financial, and market access assistance to AVGC entrepreneurs to promote a culture of R&D and local IP Creation.
Enhancing India’s influence and reputation through inclusive growth
The Taskforce recommended that a dedication Production Fund be established for domestic content creation from across India to promote Indian culture & heritage globally. To attain high-quality indigenous content by broadcasters, it was also important to evaluate reservations. It also becomes crucial to have target skilling and industry outreach for youth in Tier 2 & 3 towns and villages in India, along with establishing Special incentives for women entrepreneurs in the AVGC sector. Remember the importance of establishing a framework for ensuring Child Rights Protection in the digital world.
FOCUS ON EDUCATION & PROVIDING BETTER INFRASTRUCTURE
The AVFC draft proposed to launch the Task Force to create gaming technology as the basis of its foundation. However, it wishes to do so while providing extensive employment opportunities, imparting education, and ensuring better infrastructure.
India has witnessed an increased pace at which AVGC education has been picked up, with the sector garnering enhanced student interest. At the same time, however, AVGC education needs more standardization in the country.
It has been seen that most programs offered by various AVGC institutes across the country are purely academic and not industry relevant. However, the new AVGC draft policy can ensure that curricula can be developed further according to the sector’s requirements. This can be done through onboarding industry players as trainers, integrating components of AVGC with the National Education Policy, promoting research & development, and creating a demand-supply channel. It will ensure that students pursuing the courses in AVGC are also absorbed by the industry, catering to employment opportunities.
Currently, as things stand, there aren’t any apex institutes in India for the AVGC sector compared to the engineering, design, and management sector. The AVGC Draft Policy, however, can aim to fulfill the need for an academic reference point that will, in turn, provide access to the latest infrastructure and technology, as well as function as a think-tank to provide guidance to the AVGC sector.
The author of this article is co-founders of AAFT Online. Views are personal.
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