Offset Printers Association – The Print Yatra Project

A networking event to benefit the printing industry

From L to R: R N Dutta Baruah, joint secretary AIFMP, Ashwani Gupta, treasurer AIFMP, Dibajyoti Kalita, president AIFMP, Kamal Chopa and Shahjahan Kazi

In order to understand the style of working and the problems being faced by the printers of Eastern region, Kamal Chopra and Ashwani Gupta, treasurer at AIFMP visited Guwahati under the Print Yatra project of Offset Printers Association (OPA) on 6-7 February 2020 and was welcomed by RN Dutta Baruah, joint secretary AIFMP.

They visited Navanita Printers, one of the biggest printing units of the city with its own in-house pre-press and post-press facilities and was greeted by Dibyajoti Kalita president, AIFMP. They also visited other printing units and met leading printers and office bearers of the All Assam Press Owners Association. Shahjahan Kazi brought to notice the problems he was facing with a roller manufacturing company, which was promptly resolved. While discussing the problems, Kamal Chopra emphasized the need for working in close cooperation and build greater networking, while Ashwani Gupta felt that it was best to adopt the CDP scheme of the government of India for the development and growth of the printing and packaging sector of Guwahati.

Elaborating the purpose of their visit, Chopra said, Print Yatra is a very humble beginning of Offset Printers Association (OPA) to establish networking between 250,000 printers of India. Through this project OPA is motivating the printers to work jointly, form associations and come together for the overall benefit of the printing industry.

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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