New Delhi: Minister for information and broadcasting M. Venkaiah Naidu on Wednesday said the government was concerned about the problems faced by the print media industry and planned to discuss the issues with stakeholders.
In the wake of implementation of the latest wage board recommendations and the upcoming goods and services tax (GST), Naidu said, “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.”
Naidu’s statement comes days after the issue of review of the wage board was raised by industry stakeholders. There have been reports about the print media sector going through difficult times. Industry stakeholders have also suggested 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.
In a statement released by the ministry last week, Naidu had conveyed ministry’s intentions to hold consultations and detailed discussions with the stakeholders on the issue.
The Majithia wage board in 2011 had recommended that salaries of all staff be increased, in some cases to 200% of prevailing levels, which prompted many newspaper firms to challenge the implementation of the wage board in the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court in 2014 had dismissed challenges filed by the managements of various newspapers and held recommendations of the wage boards were valid in law. The decision was criticized by publications.