INS seeks two-year tax holiday, import duty waiver on newsprint

Representational image only.

Representational image only.  

Newspapers going above and beyond their call of duty in this crisis time, it says.

The Indian Newspaper Society in a letter to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has sought a two-year tax holiday and removal of all import duty on newsprint seeking an urgent relief for the collapsing newspaper sector.

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Sounding a note of alarm, the society said the industry has been hit by a “triple whammy of coronavirus, plummeting advertising and customs duty on newsprint which has led to a “hitherto unimaginable situation” where the domestic newspaper industry is on the brink of collapse in a very short period of time.

The newspapers circulation has been badly hit due to the lockdown. The advertising too has plummeted severely curtailing two key revenue streams for the functioning of the newspapers.

Last year, a 10% import duty was imposed on the newsprint taking the total custom duty on newsprint to 15%. In this year Budget, 10% of duty was removed but the newspapers still had to pay 5% duty, which the INS has demanded must be waived off.

“Media’s activity is essential, and our newspapers are going above and beyond their call of duty in this pandemic, with editorial and other colleagues...putting themselves at great personal risk to be at the front lines, to ensure readers get life-saving and other essential information day after day, in the safety of their homes,” the letter said.

It also pointed out that last year well-known English newspapers like the DNA and the Financial Chronicle shut their print editions, while Mumbai’s Afternoon Despatch and Courier had shut down entirely. It said there needs to be a “level playing field between foreign digital giants and domestic Indian newspapers”.

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Printable version | May 26, 2020 6:57:55 PM |

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