Newsprint production sees major fall; only half of approved mills are operational, many shut down

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March 19, 2020 5:43 PM

Due to cheap imports of newsprint, the domestic production of newsprint in FY19 saw a steep fall of  23 per cent on-year.

newsprint, paper industry, news industry, newspaper, pulp, newsprint importOnly 62 out of 124 mills are under operation for newsprint production, rest have either shut down or stopped newsprint production. (Bloomberg image)

While the digital platforms are attracting more eyeballs day-by-day, the newsprint sector in India is losing its ages-old charm. Only half of the mills registered for newsprint are under operation and the rest are either shut down or not printing news. “At present, there are 124 mills registered under the schedule to the Newsprint Control Order (NCO) 2004. However, due to prevailing market conditions, only 62 mills are under production with an operating capacity of 1.59 million tons, which accounts for 63 per cent of the total capacity of 2.5 million tons registered under the schedule,” said DPIIT Annual Report 2019-20.

Further, 36 mills have discontinued newsprint production and 23 mills have been shut down due to various reasons, it added. Also, due to cheap imports of the newsprint, the domestic production of newsprint in FY19 saw a steep fall of  23 per cent, compared to the previous year, said the DPIIT report. Newsprint is a cheaper, non-archival paper, most commonly used to print newspapers and advertising material. It has a huge significance in carrying information in cities as well as village hinterlands.

Also Read: Salary cuts for Air India, IndiGo staff as coronavirus clips aviation sector’s wings

To arrest the fall in production of the newsprint, the government has fixed local content parameters in order to boost domestic manufacturing supply of paper and imposed anti-dumping duty on uncoated copier paper. Meanwhile, in India, the per capita consumption of paper is about 15.75 kg, which is far lower than the world average, which was 53 kg in 2018. This indicates considerable headroom for the growth of the sector in order to reach the world average per capita consumption, said the government. However, the Indian paper industry accounts for about 4.29 per cent of the world production of paper, paperboard, and newsprint.

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