The Centre on Wednesday announced the merger of four film media units, including the Films Division, Directorate of Film Festivals, National Film Archive of India, and Children’s Film Society of India with the National Film Development Corporation.

The National Film Development Corporation is a public service undertaking under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. It is currently headed by Ravinder Bhakar, who is also the chief executive officer of the Central Board of Film Certification.

“The legacy and brand name of [the] Films Division will be taken further and the production vertical for production of documentaries in the NFDC [National Film Development Corporation] will be named as ‘Films Division’,” the information and broadcasting ministry said.

With the mergers, documentary films will now be produced under the National Film Development Corporation. It will also take over preserving films from the National Films Archives of India. The organisations’ director, Prakash Magdum was replaced by Ravinder Bhakar.

The corporation will also take over functions of the Directorate of Film Festival including the organisation of national and international film festivals such as the upcoming International Film Festival of India at Goa, the Mumbai International Film Festival and the Children’s Film Festival.

“All other activities conducted by the DFF [Directorate of Film Festivals] shall be transferred to NFDC with effect from July 1, 2022,” the ministry said in an office memorandum. “The employees of DFF are hereby attached under promotion vertical of NFDC as temporary arrangement until further orders.”

The ministry said that transfer will have no bearing on the service conditions of employees or their salaries and allowances. It said that the merger will bring activities of the four media units under single management and would help in better utilisation of public resources.

The decision to merge the media units was taken in December 2020 and was slated to take place before the end of January.

In December 2021, nearly 900 actors, filmmakers and other members of the Indian film industry had written a letter to the information and broadcasting ministry against the merger. The signatories included actor Naseeruddin Shah, filmmaker and actor Nandita Das, director Anand Patwardhan and writer and lyricist Varun Grover.

The signatories had expressed apprehensions over the legitimacy of the entire process saying the move was being carried out without any engagement with the film fraternity.

However, in Wednesday’s release, the government said it has shared information about its decision with the film fraternity during an interaction in Chennai and Mumbai earlier this month.