The outbreak of coronavirus has affected many sectors, including the publishing industry. The print industry (read magazines and newspapers) relies heavily on advertising revenue. However, the magazine industry is suffering at large with a decline in advertising revenues, cutting back pages, and skipping issues. With no printing and distribution due to the COVID-19 lockdown, the magazine business is on the verge of a standstill. With no clarity on getting back the distribution network of railways and local courier services back on track, it is essential that magazine publishers seek aid to maintain and continue the smooth working of livelihoods of all those who are dependent on this business.
Hence, R Rajmohan, President, Association of Indian Magazines (AIM), has highlighted the importance of ‘magazine in dissemination of knowledge in his letter to Nirmala Sitharaman, Finance Minister. He has brought to light how the pandemic has cast a shadow on magazine publishing. In order to ensure the survival of magazines, R Rajmohan in his letter has outlined a set of steps that could help magazine publishers to bring their businesses back on track. Some of the suggestions made in the bail-out package includes: removing the 5 per cent customs duty on newsprint; lowering of GST on digital content writing from 18 per cent to 5 per cent; withdrawing GST on newsprint or making GST on the paper used by magazines to the same level as used by newspapers. Furthermore, he has also requested for an allocation of 10 per cent of the BOC (Bureau of Outreach and Communication) budgets to magazines; a tax holiday for a period of two years, as well as a provision for soft loans at 5 per cent interest, with a moratorium of six months; and reducing GST to 5 per cent on events that are conducted by magazine publishers.
Compiled by: BI Staff