Offset Printers’ Association demands printing to be included in essential services category

India is under a 21-day lockdown

Offset Printers' Association
Offset Printers' Association

The Offset Printers’ Association (OPA) has demanded that printing should be recognized as an essential service at the central as well state level. The Indian government has declared lockdown for 21 days, and only essential services are allowed to function.

OPA said that if the printing industry is not permitted to function as usual and denied financial assistance, access to raw materials or other support, there is a risk that indispensable products are not produced. It said that the supply of packaging material to the pharmaceutical sector must be guaranteed for an uninterrupted supply of medicine. OPA further stated that labels, posters, and information-folders are very important communication tools, which are need during this time of the pandemic.

OPA said that the printing of newspapers should be uninterrupted as they are the most trustworthy sources of news. “Fake news about coronavirus is dangerous, threatening real people’s lives. At a time of widespread uncertainty and concern, the printing of newspapers/ literature must continue,” it said.

Reiterating the aforementioned points, OPA said it underlines that it is critical that the government include the printing and related sectors as an essential industry during the COVID-19 crisis.

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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