KFCC slams govt.’s ‘free’ scheme for SC/ST directors

Film body not keen on caste-based benefits; to urge govt. to drop proposal

Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce (KFCC) has expressed its reservations over the State’s proposal to screen select films, made by Schedule Caste/Schedule Tribe directors/producers, for free in district centres.

The Department of Social Welfare had written to the KFCC on November 22 asking it to suggest names of two members to the committee that is to select such films for free screening.

S.A. Chinne Gowda, KFCC president, said the government’s communication was discussed threadbare in the meeting of the Executive Committee, which resolved unanimously to urge the government to drop the proposal. They argued that extending special benefits with caste consideration was “not appropriate” when all films were already being extended subsidy.

However, industry insiders said this was not the first attempt of the government to support films made by directors and producers belonging to SC/ST community. According to sources in the department, for the last two years ₹10 lakh is being given to facilitate release of films made those from by the SC/ST community. This was an initiative of H. Anjaneya, Social Welfare Minister in the previous Siddaramaiah government.

Mr. Gowda said, “The government is subsidising all the films as per set norms. But those norms have not been drafted taking caste into consideration.” Caste, he said, was not a criterion while extending other benefits to regional cinema or selecting award winners. The recent film tourism policy also did not mention anything on caste-specific benefit, he said. He added that films with social message are also given tax and other benefits.

“Under these circumstances, it was unanimously felt that the move by the government would be detrimental to the interests of the film industry,” he argued.

Baragur suggests alternatives

Writer, film-maker and Dalit activist Baragur Ramachandrappa suggested improving the already existing facilities for SC/ST directors/producers rather than complicating the process through a new scheme.

Recalling the scheme of extending financial assistance of ₹10 lakh to directors and producers from SC/ST community to facilitate release of films made by them, he said, “To my knowledge, at least seven applications are pending with the department for this subsidy. It is better to strengthen this scheme instead of taking the responsibility of screening films free of cost.”

Suggesting an alternative, Mr. Baraguru said the government can form a committee to select films that project Dalit aspirations.

“I will discuss the ways to make the scheme more transparent and purposeful with the Social Welfare Minister,” he said.

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Printable version | Apr 8, 2020 12:10:10 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/kfcc-slams-govts-free-scheme-for-scst-directors/article25736526.ece

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