I&B ministry has fast-tracked the move to give FTII, the status of institute of national importance along the lines of IITs and IIMs. In a meeting called by cabinet secretary P K Sinha on June 25, I&B and HRD ministries were asked to include the film institute in the Common Universities Act. This will not only give the institute autonomy, bring it international recognition but also allow it to grant degrees.
The Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) Agitation :
The move comes in the midst of a stalemate between the ministry and striking students who are demanding the removal of Gajendra Chauhan from the position of FTII chairman. Students have stuck to their guns despite a meeting with I&B minister Arun Jaitley, who assured them of significant improvements and non-interference in the institute’s functioning.
The Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) is an autonomous institute under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting of the Government of India and aided by the Central Government of India. It is situated on the premises of the erstwhile Prabhat Film Company in Pune. Since its inception in 1960, FTII has become India’s premier film and television institute, with its alumni becoming actors and directors in the Indian film industry. It has been accorded the status of Institute of National Importance by the government of India.
FTII is a member of the International Liaison Centre of Schools of Cinema and Television (CILECT), an organisation of the world’s leading schools of film and television. Indian Veteran skinflick-actor Gajendra Chauhan is current Director of FTII.
Sources in the ministry said that FTII students were among those who enjoyed the most subsidized education. The government is slated to spend Rs 12 lakh in the current financial year on each student’s education. In comparison the government spends Rs 3.5 lakh on an IIT student.
The ministry also has plans for massive infrastructure investment to the tune of Rs 80 crore. This includes Rs 37 crore for technical upgradation of studios, cameras, post production equipment and another Rs 43 crore in physical infrastructure. A total spending of Rs 200 crore for five years is on the cards. “If the ministry is spending public money in the Institute, it is well within its right to appoint a governing council to ensure accountability and transparency in its working,” a source had said earlier.
The government has also found that Bollywood an otherwise thriving industry and one of the world’s largest is unwilling to invest either time or resources for FTII. “There are many people who are supporting the strike, but when we ask eminent filmmakers to take time out to run the institute or come and teach they refuse. The students were told that it was the industry’s responsibility as well to ensure that the educational institute that they benefitted so much from, should be invested in,” sources said.
While the ministry has been clear that there will be no re-think on Chauhan’s appointment, it has offered to address these pending problems even assuring students that they would be equal partners in the process. The agitating students however appear to have turned down the offer and continue their protest.