CPI MP demands withdrawal of duty on newsprint

CPI MP demands withdrawal of duty on newsprint

CPI MP Binoy Vishwam. (Image courtesy Twitter)

The budget proposal to impose 10% customs duty on newsprint has been raised in Rajya Sabha by CPI MP Binoy Vishwam, who demanded its immediate withdrawal saying it poses a "big threat" to the newspaper industry.

Raising the issue as a special mention in the Upper House on Thursday, Vishwam said this could even lead to the shutdown of several newspapers in the country.

"Earlier, there was no import duty on newsprint. Last year, newspapers faced a shock when the cost of newsprint went up to 40% to 60% when China stopped newsprint production as part of its efforts to contain excess pollution. Now, this imposition of 10% customs duty will affect their very existence," he said.

"Imposing any levy on such an industry, which is on stress cannot be appreciated. This move will kill many of the small scale newspapers. As a person, who worked as the editor of Janayugam daily, run by the Communist Party of India, in Malayalam, I know the day-to-day difficulties of a small scale newspaper unit," he said.

He said that the survival of the newspaper industry is a must for democracy to exist in our country and the government should approach the matter as an issue of people's right to information.

"People need newspapers to continue as the mirror of their aspirations. It should not be broken. I request the government to withdraw the proposal for imposing 10% duty on newsprint," he added.