Price hike: Calendar sale in Virudhunagar fails to turn a page
Since the last week of December, the printing presses have been receiving orders from political parties and this has lifted the spirits to some extent.
VIRUDHUNAGAR: The calendar industry in the district has witnessed a slump of around 20% in orders last year mainly due to a hike in prices. Sources from the industry pegged the year’s turnover to be around Rs 400 crore to Rs 420 crore.
Tamil Nadu Calendar Manufacturers Association Secretary, K Jeyasankar, said the price of daily calendars and monthly calendars was hiked by 40% and 50% respectively. The price hike had become inevitable as the prices of raw materials, especially Maplitho papers, had shot up.
Sivakasi printing industries release albums of calendar designs on Aadi 18 (an auspicious day) every year and the orders peak around September and October. The city is home to over 2,000 offset printing units and accounts for the state’s 80% of calendar production. Over 1.5 lakh people are employed directly or indirectly in the industry. Around 10-12 sizes of calendars with 300-350 designs were readied for sale this year. The calendars from here are also exported to other countries, including, Sri Lanka, Singapore and Malaysia.
R Anandaraj, who has been running Anand Screen Printers and Calendars in Sivakasi for the last 25 years, said the business is in distress. “Unlike, the previous years, orders started to trickle in only by November-December this year,” he added.
The calendar industry’s operation is akin to cottage industry, and hence levying 18% tax on the product cripples the industry and livelihoods of lakhs of people, Jeyasankar noted. Calendars were not taxed from 1996 to 2017. However, with the implementation of GST, a 12% tax was imposed on calendars and the charge was hiked to 18% in 2021.
Since the last week of December, the printing presses have been receiving orders from political parties and this has lifted the spirits to some extent. “We expect orders to keep coming from party functionaries till Thai Pongal. Also, the QR code feature we had introduced on the calenders has garnered good response,” Jeyasankar added.