Scrap 5 pc Customs duty on newsprint: INS urges govt

The Indian Newspaper Society has urged the government to scrap the five per cent Customs duty on newsprint to allow publishers to manage their operational costs more effectively.
Newsprint
Newsprint

New Delhi | The Indian Newspaper Society has urged the government to scrap the five per cent Customs duty on newsprint to allow publishers to manage their operational costs more effectively.

In a statement, the INS said a combination of factors affecting the price and availability of newsprint -- geopolitical uncertainties, logistics, rupee depreciation and Customs duty -- have created a formidable burden for publishers in the country.

The escalations in the conflict in West Asia, as well as the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, have significantly affected the global supply chain, including for newsprint, the organisation said in its statement issued here on Monday.

The Indian Newspaper Society (INS) urgently appealed to the government to reconsider the imposition of five per cent Customs duty on newsprint.

"This measure, if withdrawn, would provide much-needed relief to the print media industry, allowing publishers to manage their operational costs more effectively and ensure the continued dissemination of credible news and information to the public," INS president Rakesh Sharma said in the statement.

It said the Red Sea issue, where cargo ships are being continuously targeted, has further exacerbated the situation, leading to disruptions in the transportation of essential commodities, including newsprint.

Resultant, the newsprint suppliers are cancelling the earlier confirmed orders of the publishers, the statement said.

Many newsprint mills in India and across the world have either suspended or ceased their operations, causing concerns about the supply of newsprint in India.

The declining value of the Indian rupee has compounded these challenges and added "pressure on import-dependent industries like the print media sector", it said.

"The fluctuating currency exchange rates contribute to the rising costs of importing newsprint, thereby straining the financial viability of newspapers and publications," the INS statement said.

"It is pertinent to mention here that survival of print media industry is crucial for the largest democracy of the world, as we not only serve as a vital medium for disseminating knowledge and information at low and affordable costs to the common public but also contribute significantly to the Government's communication efforts, informing citizens about policies and social welfare programs," it said.

The INS said in an era of widespread online misinformation, print media retains a commendable level of trust and credibility, distinguishing itself through reliable editorials, comprehensive reporting, and widespread readership.

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