Publishers seek waiver of customs duty on newsprint
Newsprint cost has jumped 20 per cent in the past three months due to the Covid-19 pandemic, publishers have reportedly claimed in a representation given to government
News publishers have approached the government seeking a 5 per cent in import duty on newsprint, according to media reports.Indian Newspaper Society (INS) has reportedly given a representation to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in this regard. They also want a fiscal stimulus package for the industry or raising tariffs of government advertisements by 50 per cent.
“Prices of newsprint have shot up by 20 per cent in the past three months. Another increase of 10-15 per cent is on the anvil next month which will severely impact the publishers,” the INS representation reportedly states. Domestic producers are severely under-stocked on their raw materials to supply adequate quantities, it added.
“If working out a stimulus package for print media is difficult at this juncture, DAVP (Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity) may please consider releasing advertisement for all its departments to all publications with an increased tariff of 50 per cent, which would be highly helpful for the industry as a whole,” reports quoted the INS representation as mentioning.
The representation has also reportedly sought extension of the validity of RNI (Registrar of Newspapers for India) Circulation Certificates up to March 31,
2022, which will enable DAVP rates to remain the same till next year.
It is estimated that the print media would take two-three years to recover from the current situation, the INS is said to have said in the representation.
A media report quoted INS president L Adimoolam as saying that the government helped a few industries (during the pandemic) with stimulus packages and that they are also expecting some stimulus.
To cut costs, several newspapers have shutdown editions, reduced the number of pages and laid off staff, he reportedly said. He was also quoted as saying that the newspaper distribution has become very costly and most newspapers have stopped sending the hard copies to the rural areas with readership of less than 50 copies, to reduce the distribution cost.
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