Govt proposes to slash import duty on newsprint to 5%
Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced on Saturday a reduction in basic customs duty on imports of newsprint and lightweight coated paper from 10% to 5%.
Addressing the Lok Sabha while presenting her second Union Budget, Sitharaman said she had received references saying that the levy on newsprint has put additional burden on the print media at a time when it is going through a difficult phase.
“I, therefore, propose to reduce basic customs duty on imports of newsprint and lightweight coated paper from 10% to 5%,” she added.
In the last budget, the government had imposed 10% basic custom duty on newsprint and lightweight coated paper.
The budget has also proposed to abolish anti-dumping duty on PTA (Purified Terephthalic Acid). “PTA is a critical input for textile fibres and yarns and its easy availability at competitive prices is desirable to unlock immense potential in the textile sector which is a significant employment generator,” news agency ANI quoted the minister as saying.
The Indian Newspaper Society (INS) had earlier urged the government to save the newspaper industry by scrapping the 10% duty imposed on newsprint and uncoated paper used for printing newspapers, and lightweight coated paper for magazines.
The total consumption of standard newsprint in India is 2.5 million tonnes and indigenous mills have a capacity of just 1 million tonnes, the INS had said.
The Executive Committee of the Indian Newspaper Society, had, at its emergency meeting last year, urged the Centre to withdraw the 10% customs duty which was announced by Sitharaman during the budget speech on July 5 last year. “Publishers are reeling under financial pressure due to lower advertisement revenues, higher costs and digital onslaught. Newspapers will go into deeper losses due to this imposition,” the INS had said.
(With agency inputs)