AVGC Promotion Task Force recommends 7 ways to boost the sector

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A task force formed by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) in order to grow the animation, visual effects, gaming and comic (AVGC) sector has given detailed recommendations. According to experts the AVGC sector of the media and entertainment industry is predicted to grow by 14–16% over the next ten years. India is increasingly becoming the top destination for high-end, skill-based activities when it comes to sector.

While the potential of the AVGC sector in India is vast, there are some challenges that need to be overcome. These include need of proper regulatory framework as currently there is none. Other challenges include skill gap in education and employment sector, lack of globally-popular Indian IPs, absence of an AVGC academic reference point like an apex institute which is there for other sectors such as engineering, design, management and others.

Even with all the challenges, there are several critical factors for success of the AVGC sector in India like the need for skilled workforce in the coming years. The sector, as a whole, is heavily reliant on R&D. As a result, the industry needs to undergo targeted interventions.

With a surge in the number of gamers, international studios are expressing interest in either opening their own studios in India or investing in already established Indian businesses. In addition to attracting investors, this is expanding India’s stock of technological and creative skills, which will heavily benefit the sector.

Here are the seven recommendations by the AVGC Promotion Task Force:

1. Increasing access to Technology

The need for latest technology is of prime importance to make high quality games. The technologies and pieces of software used for it are expensive and act as the main barrier for most of the people and startup firms.

Providing these tech products like software programs in the form of subscription models will make it much easier for companies to start using and developing their own games. Focusing on encouraging the companies to make their own tech advances is also important, including software development.

The task force has also advised to encourage/allow gaming start-ups to submit applications for patents, designs, and trademarks under the Start-Ups Intellectual Property Protection (SIPP) program. In order to do that, state-wide awareness workshops can be organized in collaboration with academic institutions, industry bodies, etc. The MeitY Start-up Hub (MSH) should also focus on the AVGC sector.

2. Market Access & Development

Making people aware of this sunrise sector is also planned. Parents, students, communities, and professionals across India should be made aware of the AVGC sector through a national IEC campaign that focuses on the sector’s socioeconomic potential.

Establishing annual international AVGC Expo with regional events is another way to make it accessible for talented individuals.

The I&B ministry, in collaboration with other ministries, has recently planned the country’s first National Center of Excellence to focus on offering degree courses in the field of AVGC.

Establishing a dedicated center of entrepreneurship (COE) that focuses on AVGC in smart cities or CEOs in software technology parks for development of the sector is also proposed.

3. Creating Financial Viability

Promoting the AVGC sector under the “India AVGC Mission” scheme with a proper financial package developed by the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), Ministry of Education and other ministries is required to create finance viability for the workforce.

Different scholarship programs can be put in place for UG and PG students and funding higher education institutions to set up labs in tier 2 and tier 3 cities. Funds can be provisioned in order to update the curriculum and content.

To encourage and educate consumers/players on responsible gaming, the government may commission the industry to create a “Game Development Fund,” to which the businesses will donate 1% of their yearly net revenues.

Education loans with no collateral can be mandated for students from low-income-families interested in the AVGC sector, along with easing access to micro loans for the same.

Taxation-related incentives like tax breaks can also help boost IP production with R&D. To lower consumer costs, improve financial viability, and boost competition in the AVGC sector, it is necessary to streamline various taxes (including GST).

4. Training & Mentorships

The necessity for lifelong learning to be included in skill development and mentorship programs has been underlined by the sector.

In order to create future-ready frameworks for employment positions, faculty development programs, the development of qualification packs and government cooperation with the industry are required.

The industry is urged to take on the task of establishing distinct job profiles and their associated skill-set in the sector in order to standardize training activities across the AVGC sector. Hiring industry professionals for undergraduate and postgraduate degrees will help in making the workforce more professional for the AVGC sector.

A Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) may also be formed for any other technical internship with countries having a developed AVGC sector like the USA, Japan and Germany to improve the skills of professionals in India.

Further expanding on early training, courses related to AVGC sector can also be introduced in schools for interested students. For example, game design competitions after a summer camp or similar activities can be used to create awareness for the sector.

5. Promoting high-quality Content

To provide the necessary push for content development in India, the Indian government may potentially consider launching a “Create in India” campaign. This includes high quality content promoting Indian culture and Heritage globally, be it games or other part of the AVGC industry.

Creating and viewing animations (2D/3D) competing with international markets should also be promoted. This can include historical and folklore-based narratives, which will further help in promoting Indian culture.

Another important aspect suggested here is making global-ready content that becomes successful worldwide. Both gaming and entertainment industries should be encouraged to do it. Collaboration between gaming and entertainment industries can lead to the establishment of transparent platforms for knowledge sharing.

6. Education

The I&B Ministry is advised to work together with the Ministry of Education to draft a holistic framework for AVGC education in India. Introduction of subjects related to AVGC should be considered with a mode of examining the creative fields of students.

Media & Entertainment Creative Aptitude Test (MECAT) or related exams may be taken into consideration or used to help with admissions into career programs in the AVGC industry for animation, visual effects, gaming, filmmaking, or any other career.

The Ministry of Education should encourage NCERT to publish books about topics important to AVGC. Additionally, businesses may help schools develop curriculum that introduces students to the industry at a young age.

For students at the under graduation level, a well-structured AVGC education for UG and PG students is proposed. Developing courses on par with international standards in AVGC will also be a huge boost for the sector.

7. Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

The importance of giving people skilling, re-skilling, and upskilling opportunities across gender, economic backgrounds, and geography should also be emphasized. This can be done through dedicated centers with hi-tech infra, including facilities such as digital post-production labs, incubation centers and virtual labs in tier 2 and tier 3 cities.

The establishment of ITIs and polytechnic institutions with a focus on the AVGC sector, which can be used by academia and business to make the best use of the infrastructure and advance the local industry.

To further compensate and encourage teachers to work in these tier 2 and tier 3 cities, proper incentives can be formed like discounts or fee waivers for those who teach in these schools for the next 2-3 years after completing their own education.