The Indian print media industry is hoping for favourable Budget announcements from Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee today. In the first budget after the economic slowdown, the industry wants parity in Government and market ad rates. Print players have also urged the Government not to increase the rates of custom duty, excise duty, and anti-dumping duty. exchange4media finds out more on what’s there on the print industry’s Budget wishlist.
Manajit Ghoshal, Managing Director, Mid-Day Infomedia
“Media is regarded as the fourth pillar of the nation, however, the Government takes it as just another business. The Government should fix DAVP rates as per market parity. We need a level playing field. If the big companies can spend a good amount of money on their ads, then why can’t the Government? Last year’s Budget was very mechanical and the Government announcement was very much expected.”
Akila Urankar, President, Business Standard
“Custom duties, which were withdrawn some time back, should not be re-introduced. From the industry point of view, import duty on various equipment should be reduced. Last year, during the time of slowdown, the Government did give some relief and rates of Government ads were increased, though very minimal. These rates should be at par with market rates.”
Shashi Shekhar, Editor-in-Chief, Hindustan
“The Government should cut taxes on newsprint cost. More facilities regarding printing of newspapers should be given to the print media industry. The Government should also introduce some good provisions for Government ads in print media.”
Vineet Sethia, Director, NaiDunia
“From the perspective of the common man, I feel the limit of Sec 80-C should be raised from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 2 lakh. The stimulus package given to various industries should continue, which will indirectly benefit the print industry as well. And lastly, certain policies must be framed, which will help achieve a double digit growth for the country.
From the industry point of view, for us, the two most important announcements could be – First, not to levy duty on import of newsprint, inks and various raw materials, and second, reduced rate of interest on borrowings made by printing units.
No significant benefits were availed by printing units during the last budget. The Government should give certain relaxations for the technological upgradation for creation of infrastructure. This can be just like the TUF set-up for textile mills. Further, the Government should increase the advertisement rates for Government advertisements, given the increased cost of operations.”
HP Tiwari, Director (Finance), Rajasthan Patrika
“Custom duty on high speed newspaper printing machines is very high. Earlier, it was only 5 per cent, but at present, it is around 15 per cent. With the growing circulation and increasing demand for more number of colour pages and total pages, the newspapers require high speed printing machines, but there is no such manufacturer in India and the cost of imported machinery is high. Hence, custom duty should be brought down to 5 per cent.
Despite surge in industrial growth and GDP, the growth in advertisement is not restored yet. The cost of raw material like newsprint in particular has started going up, so the nil rate of custom duty on imported newsprint must be continued. The excise duty rates should also be continued at the current level on other items. Anti-dumping duty levied on aluminium plates for printing should also be withdrawn.”