The Indian Newspaper Society (INS) has requested the Government of India to withdraw the 10 per cent Customs duty imposed on newsprint, uncoated paper used for printing of newspapers and light-weight coated papers used for magazines.
Stating that 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, INS said that small and medium newspapers will go into deeper losses and many of them will be forced to close down.
According to a release from INS, the total consumption of newsprint in India is estimated at 2.5 million tonnes per annum, while the capacity of the domestic industry is only 1 million tonnes. In the case of uncoated (glazed) and light-weight coated (LWC) paper, there are no domestic manufacturers. There was no Customs duty on newsprint until now. Most large newspaper groups in India import newsprint to meet their requirements. There was no Customs duty on lightweight coated paper used for magazines as well.
In the previous financial year, newsprint prices went up by nearly 60 per cent, which already took a toll on the industry.
In the Budget, presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday, the government justified the increase as a means to “provide level playing field to domestic industry”.