Virtually rejecting demand for rollback of the 10 per cent customs duty on newsprint, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday said the duty was imposed to promote domestic manufacturers and the importers will have to pay tax on the shipment. Newspaper industry had earlier made a representation to the finance minister for rollback of the Budget’s announcement of customs duty imposition on imported newsprint, arguing the move will put pressure on the bottomline. There was no import duty on newsprint so far.
The intention of the government was to make sure that Indian manufacturers of newsprint are promoted as they were suffering due to cheaper import, she said at an event here. When pointed out that domestic industry is unable to meet the demand of newpapers, she said it is because 50 per cent of the domestic manufacturer is underutilised.
The government has no problem in the importing but the industry will have to pay 10 per cent duty, she said. Last month, the Indian Newspaper Society (INS) had urged the government to withdraw the 10 per cent customs duty imposed on newsprint, the uncoated paper used for printing of newspapers, and lightweight coated papers used for magazines.
“Publishers of newspapers and magazines are already reeling under severe financial pressure due to many factors like lower advertisement revenues, higher costs and digital onslaught from technological giants. Small and medium newspapers will go into deeper losses and many of them will be forced to close down,” it had said.
India’s newsprint consumption is around 2.5 million tonnes per annum, while the domestic industry’s manufacturing capacity is only 1 million tonnes. Also, there are no domestic manufacturers of uncoated and lightweight coated paper.
Source : Financial Express