Publishers unhappy with Balbharati registration rules

By 30 May 2018

A fresh new act has opened in the never-ending drama of government intervention in textbook printing. This time, the setting is Maharashtra. According to a newspaper report, Mumbai publishers have decided not to register for licences proposed by the state government's textbook bureau, Balbharati. One of the reasons being, to publish supplementary content, the publishers are asked to pay up to Rs 63,000 per subject per year. The registrations opened on 28 May.

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Also, from this academic year, Balbharati has asked publishers of supplementary material (print, digital and notes) for tutorial classes to pay royalty for use of its textbooks.

According to Zohar Golwala of the Association of Publishers and Distributors, this rule will hit hard the small businesses, especially publishers of regional language content. “We sell a book for Rs 70. If we add the licence amount to production costs, students will have to pay double for each book and not all can afford that. Vernacular students do not have very good teachers and need guides," he added said.

According to a news report, the group is reaching out to the authorities and seeking legal opinion.

Coaching classes are joining hands with publishers to oppose the move. "Even if tutorials don't make their own notes, they conduct tests which use content from textbooks. Why should we pay such high fees? We are studying the fine print and will move court," said Sachin Karnavat, president, Maharashtra Class Owners' Association.

Tutorial classes have to pay Rs 35,000 a subject per year under the policy. They are worried students will be at loss without supporting study resources. “We depend on published notes to give class X students but we have nothing to give this year. How will students prepare for board exams as textbooks are not enough?" said Narendra Bhambwani, a coaching class-owner. (Courtesy The Times of India)

Tags: Balbharati

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