Viren Chhabra print leadership award to Rajendrakumar Anayath

Industry veteran has five tips for printers

Viren Chhabra
Rajendrakumar Anayath, the vice-chancellor at DCRUST Murthal, receiving the 'Viren Chhabra Print Leadership Award' (VCPLA)

Rajendrakumar Anayath, the vice-chancellor at DCRUST Murthal, was awarded the coveted ‘Viren Chhabra Print Leadership Award’ (VCPLA) on 29 March 2023 in Mumbai, for his exceptional achievements and performances for the growth and welfare of the printing and packaging industry.

The award was presented by Raveendra Joshi, president of the All India Federation of Master Printers (AIFMP), in the presence of the permanent members of the ‘Viren Chhabra Foundation’ and print leaders of the globe at JW Marriott Mumbai.

The Viren Chhabra Print Leadership Award (VCPLA) is given to a veteran who has devoted himself/herself consistently to the field of printing for the development and growth of the industry and welfare of the printing community and has achieved something exceptional substantive during his/her work-span.

The award is instituted by the AIFMP in the name of Viren Chhabra, a stalwart of the printing industry of India, known as the ‘ambassador of the Indian printing industry to the world. He was the founder editor of Printing Times, the man behind the fifth World Print Congress, and the first first South Asia Print Congress (SAPC) at New Delhi.

Speaking about the concept and reasons for VCPLA, Kamal Chopra, convener of VCPLA forum said, “Printing is the mother of all revolutions and is the greatest invention of mankind to date. Several technicians fine-tuned this art to use it according to the changing times. No effort was made to honor the technicians responsible for the revolution of printing in India and to remember the contributions of the masters of this great art. Such recognition is necessary to perpetuate the spirit of doing something unique for the growth of the trade and industry.” The award carries a citation, a shawl, a memento, and a cheque of Rs 1 lakh together with the biodata and photo of Viren Chhabra.

Accepting the award, Anayath urged the printers to keep their eyes and hearts open to the future and to feet on the ground. He expressed his thanks to the AIFMP leaders, members of the forum constituted, and judges. He said, “From Independence Day to till today, during the past 75 years, India attracted $950 billion FDI. Of that, $532 billion came in the last 90 months.The next revolution in the Indian print and packaging industry would be in agriculture, food products, mobile and allied equipment, and pharma.”

Anayath suggested five important points for printers to become successful and responsible.

1) Environmental impact of raw materials and processes: Incorporate reused materials and circularity potential at the design phase itself.

2) Sustainability through a circular economy: Have a serious concern on the end-life of all products you print. Design to minimize energy use, emissions, consumables, and product failure.

3) Societal responsibilities: Health, safety and welfare of all stakeholders of print industry. Use data to develop service innovations. Maximize ease of recycling and recycled value of components.

4) Values, ethics, and legal compliance: It is not an option anymore, but mandatory for the future due to transparency in everything you do and the deep global awareness of nature and systems.

5) Handling technology: There are much better ways to do it with the help of digitization. 3D printing, big data, AI, ML, AR, VR, Metaverse, cloud computing are going to make everything fast, simple, and precise.

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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