India’s minister of Information and Broadcasting, Anurag Singh Thakur has said that if India’s talent and UAE’s infrastructure are combined, there will be huge opportunities in the media and entertainment industry.
Thakur is in Dubai to attend Expo 2020. Speaking to Khaleej Times in an exclusive interview at the India pavilion on Saturday, the minister said, “I feel there are huge opportunities here not only at what incentives they are giving here, but also from the infrastructure that has been created here.” The minister said India’s manpower and industry experience have “lot to offer not just back home but also to countries like the UAE.”
“Not just movies and OTT platforms. Animation, visual graphics, gaming and comics… These are the four growing sectors and India has a huge skilled manpower. It has become the post-production hub for the world as well. And I personally feel that India should be the content sub-continent of the world,” said the minister.
Commenting on India’s close ties with the UAE, and the recent CEPA (Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement), Thakur who also holds the Sports and Youth Affairs portfolio, said, If UAE and India can partner in so many areas, “why not in the media and entertainment industry?”
The minister said India’s film industry – the largest in the world and estimated worth $25 billion – will reach $30 billion in the next two years.
“Every year there is growth of 17 per cent. And if you look at the OTT platforms and others, there has been a growth of more than 27 per cent. That clearly gives an idea about the 1.3 billion eyeballs in India, and a country which is known for storytelling.”
Skilling India’s youth
Thakur said the government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi is aiming to create the world’s largest skilled workforce through the Skill India programme.
“That’s an uphill task. It is very challenging, but when the Prime Minister himself wants to focus more in this area and millions and millions of Indians are skilled every year through the programme, it is clear that we are focused on creating the world’s largest skilled manpower,” said the minister.
Taking the example of the large number of Indian workforce in the UAE, Thakur said: “Indians have played a very important role in the growth of the region,” from the service sector to helming big corporates.
When asked about the brain drain in India, the minister said it is not a problem he is worried about.
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“There are several multinational companies that are headed by Indian CEOs. But many (skilled Indians) have also come back home to start new ventures. It is during the time of pandemic where we had a lot of companies turn from start-ups to unicorns. And it was many such start-ups who have taken over many established companies and that clearly shows showcase the India’s talent and the possibilities which are there back home.”
In a country where 60 per cent of the population is below the age of 29 years, the minister said youth is the biggest strength when it comes to realizing the dream of ‘self-reliant India.”
“At the start of the pandemic, we did not have a single PPE manufacturing unit. We not only manufactured for India, but also exported during the pandemic within three months. We became the pharmacy of the world,” said the minister.
“During the pandemic, millions of Indian youth was on the forefront. Whether it is serving meals, providing medicines, creating more awareness about Covid-19, the youth of India has delivered even during the time when everyone was trying to remain within the four walls. So that clearly showcase how committed the Indian youth is, whether it is start-ups or social work.”