Big packaging and print companies in Maharashtra’s red zone

Limited industrial activity may start in state’s green and orange zones

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Maharashtra may be divided into three zones for gradual reopening of industry

The government of Maharashtra has decided to extend the current lockdown till 30 April 2020. However, according to reports, the government may give some relaxations to areas less affected by COIVD-19. The central government has also extended the lockdown till 3 May with the caveat that some relaxation may be allowed after 20 April. A detailed guideline on how lockdown relaxation will be implemented will be issued by the central government on 15 April 2020.

Meanwhile, various local media reports suggest that the Maharashtra state government is looking to divide the state into three zones – red, orange, and green. Rajesh Tope, minister of health, the government of Maharashtra, on 13 April 2020, said that the division, based on the number of COVID-19 cases, could be done to identify areas where economic activities can be resumed.

The state government is likely to identify green zones as those areas where no cases have been reported so far. Orange zones would be those areas where there have been less than 15 positive cases, and red zones would be areas where more than 15 cases have been reported.

According to Tope, Bhandara, Gadhchiroli, Chandrapur, Wardha, Parbhani, Nanded, Nandurbar, and Solapur districts have recorded no cases and could fall in the green zone. Amravati, Sindhudurg, Ratnagiri, Kolhapur, Satara, Osmanabad, Hingoli, Jalna, Washim, Beed, Dhule, Gondhiya, Yavatmal districts can come under the orange zone. Mumbai city, Mumbai suburban, Thane, Palghar, Raigad, Aurangabad, Pune, Sangli, Nashik, Ahmednagar and Raigad districts would be in the red zone, as they have a high number of cases.

Limited industrial activities could be allowed to start in the green and orange zones. The government of Maharashtra may allow micro, small and medium industries in these two zones provided they continue to follow social distancing. However, a clearer picture will emerge after the central government issues guidelines come out on 15 April.

Impact on the printing and packaging industry not clear 

Since major industrial areas of the state fall in the red zone, it is still unclear what impact the new guidelines will have on the printing and packaging industry in Maharashtra.

As previously reported by Packaging South Asia, some important companies in the state have not been operational since the lockdown started on 25 March. Mumbai-based Mudrika Labels is completely shut while another Mumbai-based company JK Labels is also not functioning.

Also, as previously reported by Packaging South Asia, Bobst India’s plant near Pune is also shut since 23 March. Essel Propak, however, by taking extensive precautions and as an essential services operation, has been running its plant in Vapi, although not at full capacity.

 

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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