A delegation of 25 members of the Executive Committee of the Indian Newspaper Society called on Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh at his residence on May 15. During the meeting, the Prime Minister was briefed on several economic challenges facing the newspaper industry.
In his welcome address, INS President, Jacob Mathew, spoke of the financial stress that the newspaper industry was undergoing on account of rising newsprint prices. He said that the current newsprint prices had touched unprecedented levels, and could rise further. As a result, the economics of producing a newspaper had been greatly strained.
In the light of these trends, Mathew requested the Prime Minister to support the newspaper industry’s request for rationalisation of customs duties on newsprint and printing machinery and its plea for exemption of newsprint from VAT.
After a wide range of discussions on the problems facing the newspaper industry, the Prime Minister said that the press played a major role in the development of the country. Its economic viability was important to its freedom and vitality. He added that his government appreciated the constructive role in the dissemination of policies and the functioning of democracy, and assured the INS delegation of his support in resolving the major issues faced by the industry.
The Prime Minister further said that he would be happy to meet print media industry leaders once a year so that the industry would be able to share its concerns with the Government, and major policy issues could receive the desired attention.