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Skill development in NE a priority: Naidu

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GUWAHATI, April 18 – Minister for Information & Broadcasting M Venkaiah Naidu has said that skill development would be a priority area for the Ministry of I&B in the overall communication approach for the north-eastern region. This would complement the government’s ‘Act East Policy’ launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year as it would facilitate the nurturing of talent in the fields of media and entertainment.

The proposed Film & Television Institute of India in Arunachal Pradesh and the setting up of a permanent campus of Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC) at Aizawl would provide quality training to the young population catering to their needs and aspirations, thereby acting as talent creators and talent hubs in the region.

The Minister stated this at a review meeting of programmes and policies in the North East with officers of the Ministry in Guwahati today. Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, senior officials of the Ministry and officers of the NE region were present on the occasion.

Naidu further mentioned that the Film & Television Institute of India in Arunachal Pradesh would be set up on a plot of land measuring more than 50 acres and at a cost of Rs 200 crore, as an extended campus of the Satyajit Ray Film & Television Institute, Kolkata. This would act as a catalyst to promote talent in different aspects of film making in the region.

The Minister also mentioned the setting up of a permanent campus of Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC) at Aizawl, which would be developed as a media training hub for the north-eastern region and South East Asian countries. The institute would be developed at an estimated cost of Rs 25 crore.

Regarding the roles and responsibilities of the Public Broadcaster, Naidu mentioned that it is critical in spreading the development story of the government, especially the programmes and policies specific to the NE region. He mentioned that the only way for development in the region is through peace and that terrorism and insurgency are anti-development.

Naidu asserted that it is essential to develop programmes in local dialects and languages in order to reach out to diverse sections of society. He disclosed that at present AIR broadcasts programmes in 28 dialects of the NE region in order to connect better with the people.

The Minister, while talking about community radio, said that recently the Ministry increased the subsidy level to 90 per cent for setting up community radio stations in the NE region. Community radio stations broadcast programmes on issues which are of immediate relevance to the community and thereby facilitate development by disseminating information regarding education, rural development, agriculture, health, nutrition, environment, social welfare, Panchayati Raj issues and cultural needs.

Highlighting the various film festivals that his Ministry has organised in the North East, Naidu said the medium of cinema is powerful to send across the message of peace and development in the region.

His Ministry, Naidu said, would be launching a dedicated Doordarshan channel – ArunPrabha – from Arunachal Pradesh by August this year.

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