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.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital 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.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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– Naresh Khanna

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