Newspapers and Publications are seeing the worst of times in India, some publications have already stopped many of their supplements, some have closed down their Editions by keeping only the main edition running. Some places have heavy layoffs and some places have increased work time and decreased salaries. Some small newspapers are struggling to breath and many journalists have gone hopeless. Media sector has got affected the most. Newspaper’s counterparts like distributors, circulators and printing press owners, newspaper vendors are also struggling to sustain. Facing its worst crisis in decades due to the Covid-19 pandemic, India’s newspaper industry has sought a financial stimulus along with a clutch of immediate relief measures from the government in order to help media companies tide over the unprecedented crisis.
Rahul Shewale, Member of Parliament, urged Central government for providing minimum 1 to 5 lakhs rupees economic aids to the RNI registered Newspapers. As Newspaper houses are facing economic crisis due to long lockdown. He believes that the small media houses need to be encouraged to sustain.
We tried getting in touch with Prakash Javadekar, Cabinet Minister of Information and Broadcasting, but he was not available for comment.
In a presentation to the government, the Indian Newspaper Society (INS) has estimated that the industry has already suffered a loss of ₹4,000-4,500 crore in March and April since economic activity has nearly collapsed. Facing its worst crisis in decades due to the Covid-19, newspaper industry has sought a financial stimulus along with a clutch of immediate relief measures from the government in order to help media companies tide over the unparalleled crisis. INS, which represents over 800 newspapers, has said that the losses are expected to continue at the same rate for the next six to seven months, implying an additional loss of ₹12,000-15,000 crore, unless a strong stimulus is announced and then acted upon soon by the government.
INS President Shailesh Gupta has pointed out that due to these severe losses and choking of cash flows, newspaper establishments are finding it very difficult to even disburse employee salaries and vendor payments. As per INS estimates, over 9-10 lakh people are directly employed, while another 18-20 lakh people are indirectly employed by the newspaper industry across India.
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“Newspapers have been at the forefront of providing life-saving credible information across the country, with its personnel — including journalists, production, press and distribution vendors — at the front lines of the fight against the pandemic. So far there is no step taken by central or state governments, but small media houses are expecting the relief.”