Maharashtra allows print media to operate from 20 April

Gradual relaxation in lockdown for newspapers and mags

Marathi newspapers
Door to door delivery remains prohibited

The Maharashtra government has issued an addendum in its 17 April 2020 order and also exempted print media from lockdown from 20 April 2020 onwards, according to the Press Trust of India. However, door to door delivery of newspapers and magazines will remain prohibited during the lockdown in the light of Covid-19 pandemic.

The government said on 17 April that industrial activity would resume in special economic zones (SEZs) and the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) areas in 20 districts from 20 April. A variety of sectors have been allowed to operate in the state. Maharashtra has about 230 industrial zones developed by the MIDC. The relaxation will not apply to the 12 municipal corporations, which have been declared as red zones.

Meanwhile, the postal department has extended concessions up to 30 June 2020 for the Marathi newspaper publishers, who are facing financial problems due to lockdown. The publishers will now be allowed to send their March, April, and May editions to their subscribers at a time, at concessional rates, Sakal Times has reported.

Earlier, the All India Marathi Editors Association had requested the postal department to ease the conditions this month, and the department has given a positive response. The All India Marathi Editors Association president Balachandra Kulkarni said that many publications were lying in the press, and many were not getting printed at all as private printing presses were not exempted from the lockdown.

“We feared that our printed, as well as unprinted editions, would go to waste, leading to losses. But thanks to the post office, we will be able to send two-three editions at a time to our subscribers,” Kulkarni said.

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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