Mumbai: The Indian Newspaper Society asked the Indian government to announce a stimulus package for the Print Media Industry which faced a loss of Rs 12500 Cr in the last eight months.
In a statement, the INS said the Indian newspaper industry has played a vital role in the dissemination of verified and factual news in these challenging times which has been duly acknowledged by the Supreme Court and functionaries, from time to time.
L Adimoolam, the president of INS, has urged upon the government to announce a stimulus package for the newspaper industry, which the INS has been seeking for the past few months, the statement said.
He has pointed out that the newspaper industry is facing an “unprecedented crisis” with its revenue streams, as both advertising and circulation have been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
As a result, many of the publications have either shut down or suspended some of their editions, indefinitely, the INS said.
If this situation prevails, many more will be compelled to close their operations in the near future, it said.
In the past eight months, the industry has already lost around Rs 12,500 crore and the annual loss is likely to be around Rs 16,000 crore, the statement said.
“One can well imagine, the downfall of the fourth pillar of the world”s largest democracy will have severe socio-political repercussions, as well as affect its 30 lakh workers and staff, who are directly and indirectly involved in the newspaper industry as journalists, printers, delivery vendors and many others,” the INS said.
The devastating ripple effect of the collapsing newspaper will impact lakhs of Indians, including employees and their families, as well as the larger eco-system of allied industries, printing presses, distribution supply chain including newspaper vendors and delivery boys, etc. who have for decades, been earning their livelihood from these operations, the INS said.
The entire industry is putting in its best efforts to bounce back and now looking forward to the government to provide the much-needed stimulus package, it said.
The INS urged the government to remove residual 5 percent customs duty on newsprint, GNP & LWC paper, provide two years tax holiday, 50 percent increase in the government advertisement rates, 200 percent increase in the government spend on print media, and immediate settlement of outstanding bills of advertisements released through the Bureau of Outreach and Communication and state governments.
The Indian Newspaper industry has been appealing to the government for a stimulus package ever since the breakout of a pandemic. It may be noted that INS has made a similar request to the center in May 2020 which didn’t elicit any major response.
The latest one comes from the industry body at a time when major Print Media organisations like Times Group announcing the closure of some of their popular brands due to an unviable business atmosphere.