AIM seeks GST exemption, greater share in gov ad spends ahead of Budget 2021

Association of Indian Magazines President B Srinivasan wrote to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman with a list of demands that will aid the ailing magazine industry

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Jan 15, 2021 9:13 AM  | 2 min read

The Association of Indian Magazines (AIM)  has written to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman outlining their requests for the industry ahead of Union Budget 2021.

The magazine industry has been reeling under the effects of the COVID-19 crisis. The pandemic impacted the industry's advertising revenues with advertisers tightening their purse strings on their marketing spends. The industry also suffered from fake news on social media about the virus spreading through newspaper and magazines.

With a view to bring the centre's attention towards the crisis and to set the industry back on the sustainability path, the president of the AIM Srinivasan B made appeals to Sitharaman about including GST exemption, removing custom duty on imported paper and asking for a greater share in government ads.

Srinivasan pointed out that there is no tax applicable on the sale of printed newspapers and magazines, a long-standing tradition followed by successive governments to relieve the financial burden on the dissemination of news and information. However,  the printing of newspapers and magazines has a 5% GST, which has been burdening small and medium publishers. Therefore, the association requested the government to exempt GST on print and production of newspapers and magazines.

AIM also requested full input tax credit for all the GST publishers may incur during magazine production to survive the crisis.

Customs duty of 10% of imported paper introduced in the Union Budget 2019 had adversely affected the industry, wrote Srinivasan, requesting that the government does away with custom duty entirely.  "Domestic production of Standard Newsprint (SNP) is inadequate to meet the demand and Glazed Newsprint (GNP) and Light Weight Coated Paper (LWC) are not being manufactured indigenously at all. Hence, the argument that levying of Customs Duty is to protect the domestic industry is flawed," he wrote.

Thanking the government for its sustained patronage, the association requested for a greater share for magazines in government advertising spends, which presently stands at 1%. " We request you to enhance DAVP, DIPR advertising support to magazines to at least 10% of your total advertising budget and help reach a substantially higher reading population and provide a level playing field to dailies and magazines," wrote Srinivasan.

The association also urged the government to consider a general tax holiday for three years for the magazine industry.

Other demands included 10% reservation of space in leased wagons for magazines and newspapers, separate magazine kiosks at all railway stations and greater support from the Department of Post.


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