The Indian government approves plans to revive the publicly-funded film industry body, including a funding boost.

The Union Cabinet of the Indian Government has approved plans to revitalise the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC), including $654,000 (Rs30m) of new funding and $6m (Rs290m) of debt restructuring.

The NFDC, which aims to support film production and promote the industry, has earmarked the funds to upgrade its computer infrastructure and to establish an art house digital exhibition network and renovate/upgrade NFDC’s properties.  

Nina Lath Gupta, CEO of NFDC, said: “About three years ago we realised the need to split the NFDC’s two mandates: development and corporate. Development has been receiving state funding for a while now which has led to the production of about eight films in various languages over the last couple of years. We have also been restoring some of the films from our catalogue of 250 films.”

Since it was establishment in 1975, the NFDC has funded and produced more than 300 films in 18 Indian languages. Once a profit-making public sector body, the NFDC started incurring losses after 2002-03. Lath said: “From around 1990, NFDC was procuring films for Doordarshan (the national government funded TV channel) and marketing their feature film slots. This was the primary source of revenue for NFDC. But with the advent of a number of private channels advertising revenue was split leading to losses for NFDC.”

Seeing no improvement in the performance of the NFDC, a revival plan was developed. The NFDC expects to return to profit from 2010-11 onwards. “We are already seeing a marginal operating profit and should be profitable by the end of this financial year. We see this as a new phase in NFDC’s growth and are looking to explore all avenues, including distribution.”

After a phase of restructuring and job cuts, Vikramjit Roy was recently appointed head of production at NFDC.