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I&B minister Venkaiah Naidu to discuss print media issues with stakeholders

NEW DELHI: Expressing concern about the problems faced by the print media industry, Minister for information and broadcasting M. Venkaiah Naidu said that he plans to discuss the issues with stakeholders.

Naidu’s statement comes in the backdrop of implementation of the latest wage board recommendations and the upcoming goods and services tax (GST).

“We are trying to identify the real and actual problems—what are the solutions without affecting the interest of the employees and people who are working in the media, without costing much to the exchequer of the country,” Mint quoted Naidu as saying.

Industry stakeholders have raised the issue of review of the wage board. They have also asked for a zero rating of newspapers under the new GST regime.

“Proper wage must be given to all the employees. Journalists should be suitably paid keeping in mind the cost of living, wholesale price index etc. The government is alive to the reality of the situation. We are trying to see that print media survives and improves,” Naidu said while speaking to journalists at the Indian Women’s Press Corp (IWPC) in New Delhi.

What is causing worry to newspaper outfits is the recommendation of the Majithia wage board in 2011 that salaries of all staff be increased, in some cases to 200% of prevailing levels. This had led to several newspaper firms challenging the implementation of the wage board in the Supreme Court.

In 2014, the apex court had dismissed the plea of the managements of various newspapers and held recommendations of the wage boards were valid in law.