INS writes submission to Anurag Thakur, requesting BOC rates be maintained

INS has written a submission to Anurag Singh Thakur, Minister of I&B requesting that the BOC rates be maintained and should not be revised downward till such time the 9th Rate Structure Committee sends its recommendation on BOC (DAVP) rates. There are various other demands too.

The INS wrote:

During our interaction, we had discussed the following issues and you had kindly given us an assurance that these issues will be examined:

  1. Withdrawal of residual 5% Customs Duty on Newsprint
  2. Extension of validity of Circulation Verification Certificates
  3. Need of Stimulus Package — Increase in BOC (DAVP) Rates and Budget
  4. Outstanding dues from the Bureau of Outreach and Communications
  5. Exemption from IT (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021

We have noted that for the revision of rates of Government advertisements in the print media by the Bureau of Outreach & Communication (BOC), the 9th Rate Structure Committee has been constituted by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting. We thank you for the same and are confident that a fair rate structure taking into consideration the current market conditions will be arrived at. On 20.12.2021, a delegation of the Indian Newspaper Society had met with the said Committee and preliminary submissions have been made.

In our interaction with you, we had also mentioned that due to pandemic conditions, ABC was unable to carry out circulation audits at various towns/cities. RN1 circulation audits for certification could also not be carried out.

The Audit Bureau of Circulation, vide their letter dated 23.09.2021 informed the DG, BOC that the ABC certificate of circulation for the Audit period July-December 2019 would now be valid up to 31.08.2022 and revalidated certificates were issued to the publications. Earlier, the RN1 had also extended the validity of their certificates till 31.07.2021. The Publications as per requirements of PRB Act have filed their Annual Returns showing reduced circulations for the pandemic period of 2020-21 when there were lockdowns and ban on door-to-door deliveries etc.

We had requested that the circulation figures for earlier periods should continue to be considered for BOC rates. Vide our letter dated 19.07.2021 (copy attached), the Society had already requested for the present BOC (DAVP) rates to be continued till the availability of new audited certified figures by ABC/CA/RN I certificates. It was also brought to your kind notice that the rates for Government advertising are fixed by BOC (DAVP) as per Advertising Policy and are linked to the circulation of publications. The rates are renewed /revised on the basis of overall circulation as per Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC)/RNI/CA certificates.

We wish to reiterate that Government advertising is a critical lifeline to the Print Media Industry which continues to support its readers with verified and trusted news, especially at a time when the whole world is beleaguered with fake news on the digital and social media platforms. In our several representations, we have been continuously stressing the fact that newspapers, especially small & medium, across the country are gasping for breath.

It has been brought to our notice by many members that the rates have been revised downwards by BOC on account of a reduction in circulation due to the corona pandemic. This issue was brought to your notice by Shri Rakesh Sharma, Vice President of the Indian Newspaper Society on December 23.12.2021.

Given the magnitude of financial stress on the Newspaper publishers, it is critical that Government advertisement rates as determined by BOC (DAVP) be maintained and should not be revised downward till such time the 9th Rate Structure Committee sends its recommendation on BOC (DAVP) rates.


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