THE INDIAN Newspaper Society (INS) has asked the government to withdraw the 10 per cent Customs duty imposed on import of “newsprint, uncoated paper used for printing of newspapers and lightweight coated paper used for magazines” announced in the Budget last week.
In a statement on Monday, the INS said “publishers of newspapers and magazines are already reeling under severe financial pressure due to many factors like lower advertisement revenues, higher costs and digital onslaught from technological giants”. It said “small and medium newspapers will go into deeper losses and many of them will be forced to close down”.
The INS sought the government’s “urgent intervention” to “save Indian newspaper industry by scrapping the unbearable burden imposed on it”.
It said the annual “total consumption” of newsprint in the country “is estimated at 2.50 million tonnes” while the “capacity of the domestic industry is only 1 million tonnes”. It said that in “the case of uncoated (glazed) and lightweight coated paper, there are no domestic manufacturers”.
On Saturday, the Association of Indian Magazines (AIM) had also asked the government to withdraw the 10 per cent Customs duty. “This is a double whammy for print media which is going through unprecedented crisis due to declining revenues, caused by the prevailing macro-economic conditions,” it said.