The import of newsprint declined by more than 50% due to the pandemic and it dipped even further in the following years, as per the data shared by the government in the Lok Sabha. The newsprint import fell to 5,97,766 kg in 2021-22 from the 13,84,056 kg purchased in 2017-18.
In a written reply to a question, the Information & Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur said the newspaper industry had imported 13,84,056 kg of newsprint in 2017-18, which declined to 6,48,620 kg in 2020-21. This further declined to 5,97,766 kg in 2021-22, Thakur said in a written response to a question by YSR Congress Party member Margani Bharat.
The Minister also said the newspaper industry had imported 12,96,300 kg of newsprint in 2018-19, which remained almost stable in 2019-20 when 12,96,354 kg was purchased.
The print industry remains to be the most affected because of the factors like the pandemic and a global supply-chain issue. Thakur said that they have received representations from the newspaper industry for a reduction/redemption on the customs duty of newsprint which is being examined by the Ministry of Finance.
A while ago, the Basic Customs Duty (BCD) rate of 10% was imposed on newsprint, which was subsequently reduced to 5% with effect from February 2, 2020.