BENGALURU: Top Congress leader Siddaramaiah has called on the Center to exempt newspaper printing paper from the scope of Goods and Services Tax (GST), saying many regulatory policies have affected their operations and their finances.
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Siddaramaiah said: “I urge you to remove GST on printing paper, create differentiation between registered and unregistered Registrar of Newspapers of India (RNI) agencies at time of purchase of printing papers, and to provide printing incentive to paper manufacturing units that manufacture quality paper from cellulose fibers.
According to Siddaramaiah, the printing paper tax for RNI-registered agencies before the implementation of the GST was 3%, and it was increased to 5% under the GST system.
This is a 68 percent increase in taxes on printing paper.
“The GST for unregistered agencies is 12%. Since there is no mechanism to differentiate between registered and unregistered agencies at the point of purchase, unregistered agencies purchase printing paper at 5% instead registered agencies This shortage has also led to an increase in the cost of printing papers The government should consider reducing GST rates for registered agencies and creating a differentiation mechanism to identify registered and unregistered agencies. registered,” the former CM said in the letter, a copy of which was shared with the media.
Supply chain disruptions due to the pandemic, labor shortages, raw material costs, shipping container shortages and rising fuel prices have contributed to an increase printing prices drastically, he noted.
“The cost of a ton of imported printing paper was $300 or Rs 23,000 before the pandemic, and it has risen to around Rs 55,000-60,000 now. Almost 56% of the paper was imported and 44% was domestically produced,” Siddaramaiah who is the opposition leader in Karnataka assembly said.
Referring to the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia, he said, since most imports come from Russia and Europe, the disruptions have increased significantly due to the war.
Siddaramaiah also pointed out that the cost of paper printing having doubled over the past two years and the increase in GST have placed a huge burden on print media companies to sustainably sustain newspaper printing.