Rejecting demands for rollback of import duty on the paper used for printing newspapers, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday said 10 percent customs duty on imported newsprint was a move to provide a level playing field for domestic manufacturers. Replying to the debate on Finance Bill 2019, which contained the tax proposal, in the Rajya Sabha, she said domestic newsprint manufacturers were finding it difficult to find buyers because the same was being imported. “Basic Customs Duty on newsprint has been increased to provide a level playing field to domestic manufacturers.
There is a capacity in this country to produce newsprint. But unfortunately, they are not able to get buyers because most of the newsprint is imported,” she said. In the last few months, there has been a drastic fall in price overseas from USD 700 per tonne to USD 500 per tonne, she said, adding that kind of fall in global newsprint prices has affected the Indian manufacturers so badly that they are not able to find takers for their product. “So if we are talking of Make in India but allowing indirectly to import, it does not make sense at all. I am sure the member appreciate this point that when we are trying to make Indian industry survive this kind of onslaught, this is inevitable,” she said.