The Indian Newspaper Society has urged the government to provide a strong stimulus package to the newspaper industry which it said has lost over about Rs 4,500 crore and is likely to suffer further losses of up to Rs 15,000 crore in between six to seven months if relief is not provided. In a letter to the Information and Broadcasting Secretary, the INS said the newspaper industry is among the worst affected in India with hardly any revenues coming in from either advertising or circulation amid the nationwide lockdown in the outbreak of corona virus.
The newspaper industry has already lost Rs 4500 crore in the last two months. Since the economic activity has nearly collapsed and there is no advertising from the private sector, this implying an additional loss of Rs 12,000 – 15,000 crore over the next 6-7 months unless a strong stimulus is implemented by the government at the earliest by which the letter signed by INS president Shailesh Gupta . INS also urged the government to withdraw about five per cent customs duty on newsprint. The losses already incurred have had very severe repercussions for the 30 lakh workers who are directly and indirectly involved in the newspaper industry i.e. journalist , printers, delivery vendors and many others, said INS, which represents over 800 newspapers.
According to the INS estimates, newspapers provide direct and indirect employment to almost 9 to 10 lakh people and over 18-20 lakh people respectively. It is said in the letter dated April 20 “For the last several weeks, due to the above severe losses and choking of cash flows, the newspaper establishments are finding it very difficult to even disburse salaries to employees and payments to their vendors,”. In our various communications, we have requested for withdrawal of five per cent customs duty on newsprint will have no impact on domestic manufacturers or any ‘Make in India’ efforts,”. INS also urged the government to give two years tax holiday for newspaper establishments also 50 per cent increase in advertisement rate of Bureau of Outreach and Communication and 100 per cent increase in budget spend for print media. It is called for immediate settlement of payment towards all outstanding bills of advertising from BOC as various state governments.