NEW DELHI: The Indian Newspaper Society (INS) has appealed to the Centre for an urgent stimulus package for the print industry amid the crisis it is facing with the outbreak of COVID-19.
In a letter sent to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, the INS urged the government to consider the removal of the 5 per cent customs duty on newsprint, two-year tax holiday for newspaper establishments, 50 per cent increase in advertisement rate of Bureau of Outreach and Communication (BOC) and a 100 per cent increase in budget spend for the print media.
It also urged the Centre to settle the outstanding bills of advertising from the BOC and other state governments.
Reiterating that the media was playing an important role in disseminating information amid the pandemic, the INS said the industry was facing an unprecedented crisis.
Despite newspapers cutting down on the number of pages and merging weekend supplements with the main editions, the financial losses are acute, it said.
The gap in between production cost and what readers pay for newspapers is usually made up by advertising — the lack of which has put the print media in crisis, the INS said.
“Many small and medium newspapers have already suspended publishing and other newspapers are facing serious challenges. If they collapse, it is bound to affect the domestic newsprint manufacturing industry too. Such a situation will have a ripple effect affecting a large number of employees, their families as well as allied industries,” the letter said.