'Withdraw 10% customs duty on newsprint'

Publishers of the newspapers and magazine are already reeling under “severe financial pressure” due to many factors like lower advertisement revenues, higher costs and digital onslaught from technological giants.

The Indian Newspaper Society (INS) has urged the Union government to withdraw the 10% customs duty imposed on newsprint, uncoated paper and lightweight papers, in order to save newspapers and magazines published in the country.

Publishers of the newspapers and magazine are already reeling under “severe financial pressure” due to many factors like lower advertisement revenues, higher costs and digital onslaught from technological giants.

“With the imposition of 10% customs duty, small and medium newspapers will go into deeper losses and many of them will be forced to close down,” the INS said in a statement.

In the Union Budget for 2019-20, the Finance Ministry has proposed levying of 10% customs duty on newsprint, uncoated paper, and lightweight papers. The uncoated papers are used in the printing of newspapers while lightweight papers for printing magazines

The INS underlined that the total consumption of newsprint in India is estimated at 2.50 million tonnes per annum while the capacity of the domestic industry is only 1.0 million tonnes.

“In the case of uncoated (glazed) and lightweight coated (LWC) paper, there are no domestic manufacturers. So the INS calls for urgent intervention of the government to save Indian newspaper industry by scrapping the unbearable burden imposed on it,” the INS added.

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