Referring to the impact of the Russian war in Ukraine on the newspaper industry in India, BJP MP Sushil Kumar Modi on Tuesday urged the central government to step in and revive the sector by scrapping import duty on newsprint, and also introduce a scheme to incentivise domestic production, according to the Hindustan Times.
Newslaundry had reported how the newspaper industry in India had been staring at a crisis due to a shortage of newsprint – triggered by global events and dry domestic manufacturing.
“India is extremely reliant on newsprint import and is the largest importer of newsprint globally, importing 45% from Russia alone,” he said in the Rajya Sabha, adding that “the Russia-Ukraine crisis and associated sanctions have struck shipping containers of newsprint leading to supply shortages.” He stressed that such disruptions have been happening frequently, such as the workers strike in Finland and truckers strike in Canada – both countries are important sources of newsprint import for India.
Modi highlighted how this translated into higher import costs for domestic newspaper firms, as newsprint amounts for 45 to 50 percent of the overall cost. Prices, he said, have risen from $450 per tonne to $950 per tonne. “As a consequence, the business has become increasingly uneconomical even loss-mounting. Domestic manufacturers are converting their mills to produce packaging material,” he said.
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