The Indian Newspaper Society (INS) has written to the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), asking it to update the specifications of domestic newsprint in alignment with imported newsprint.
“The domestic newsprint is of very poor specifications as compared to the imported ones. This poses problems for our printing presses. Also, our readers are used to a certain level of quality. The BIS has not upgraded the newsprint specs for the last 20 years. So we are requesting them to upgrade it now in alignment with the imported newsprint,” said Mohit Jain, Vice-President, Indian Newspaper Society
Jain said the domestic newsprint prices are indexed to be on a par with the global prices. However, the quality doesn’t match.
“The domestic newsprint quality is poor due to a variety of reasons. Firstly, they have not invested in their equipment for a long time. They need to modernise it and invest in the system and the process. Also, there needs to be a whole consciousness towards quality,” he said.
“Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal had earlier said at a public forum that we need to make products in India, but of global quality. So, for that our inputs also have to have international quality standards,” he added.
Sources in the industry say that the quality of domestic newsprint cannot be compared to the imported stuff and this quality difference is ultimately leading to a cost difference.
The INS has consistently asked the government to repeal the 5% customs duty on imported newsprint. At a time when the print media industry is reeling under heavy losses due to the pandemic, this custom duty is an additional stress on publishers.