Budget 2020: Print industry reacts to 5% cut in customs duty on newsprint
Newspaper business cheers the 5% cut in customs duty on newsprint after 10% duty was imposed last year. Newsprint consumption in India is pegged at 2.5 million tonnes per annum while domestic manufacturing capacity is at 1 million tonnes. Paper imports in India increased by 30% in terms of volume from April to September 2019 and subsequently the Government of India had imposed 10% customs duty. After the urging of industry bodies such as Indian Newspaper Society, the Budget 2020 has offered some relief to print media players.
Girish Agarwal, Promoter Director, DB Corp. said, “We are grateful to the Hon’ble Finance Minister for proposing a reduction in the customs duty on the import of newsprint to 5% from the present 10%. The Print Industry has been seeking a withdrawal of this duty that was introduced in the last budget, considering the lack of domestic capacity to fulfil the Industry’s demand and thereby making imports imperative. Nonetheless, this 50% reduction is a positive move as it will ease the burden on newsprint costs, which is a key cost component for the Print Industry.
In an otherwise challenging business environment, this reduction will prove helpful and may be channelized into increasing content and strengthening editorial credibility that will ultimately benefit the readers.
We are extremely encouraged and appreciate the Government’s efforts in engaging with the Industry and being responsive to suggestions."
Karan Darda, Executive Director, Lokmat Media Group said, “We welcome the proposed reduction in custom duty on import of newsprint and light-weight coated paper. In recent years, newspaper industry has been facing many headwinds and the environment has overall been very challenging. 10% customs duty was introduced last year and that added to the burden. The reduction in customs duty would ease the burden and help the industry in this critical juncture.”
Hormusji Cama, Director, Bombay Samachar, Past President, INS & Former Chairman ABC, MRUC and RSCI said, "It is dissapointing to know that duty is still 5 percent. We expected it to be removed altogether because Indian mills cannot produce the quality required to run on high speed presses. Also, they cannot meet the demand. They, at most, claim to produce one million tonnes annually whereas the consumption is two and a half million tonnes. All the paper produced locally is bought anyway so they need no protection.
DD Purkayastha, MD, ABP Pvt. Ltd. said, "It is a welcome step to help the newspaper industry which is passing through a difficult time."