NEW DELHI: The executive committee of the Indian Newspaper Society (INS), in an emergency meeting Friday, appealed to the Centre to withdraw the 10 per cent customs duty imposed on newsprint, uncoated paper used for printing newspapers and lightweight coated papers.
Publishers of newspapers and magazines are reeling under financial crunch due to a range of factors like lower advertisement revenues, higher costs and digital onslaught from technological giants, the INS said. Small and medium newspapers will go into deeper losses and many may be forced to shut down due to this imposition, it added.
The INS called for an urgent government intervention to save the country’s newspaper industry by scrapping this ‘financial burden’ imposed on it. The consumption of standard newsprint in India is 2.5 million tonnes and the indigenous mills have a capacity of 1.0 mn tonnes. The INS was of the view that Indian newsprint manufacturers have misrepresented before the government that they were in a position to meet the requirement.
Last year, there was severe shortage of newsprint across the world. The Indian industry was able to export 12,726 tonnes of newsprint which shows that there was no idle capacity available in India, according to the INS. The newsprint capacity showcased by the local manufacturers before the government was fallacious, it added.The quality of indigenous newsprint was way inferior to imported ones which restrict its usage on modern printing presses, according to the INS.