AIFMP condemns hike in paper prices, seeks intervention

Apart from Covid related challenges, the printing industry is facing the twin blow of continuous price hikes in paper, plates, chemicals, ink and other raw material and substantial rise in input cost. The All-India Federation of Master Printers (AIFMP) has condemned the sharp rise in the prices of raw material, especially paper, plates and chemical, etc. In a recent release, the organisation said, the unprecedented escalation of price of paper by the paper mills is the major hurdle while consumables industries are not willing to pass on the cost making their business unviable.

03 Mar 2021 | By Rahul Kumar

The prices of raw material have shot up by 30-35%, threatening to turn the printing business unviable

Prof Kamal Mohan Chopra, president, AIFMP, said, “More than 85% of Indian printing entrepreneurs are micro or tiny units, thus, are not able to sustain the major setback like this. After the lockdown due to pandemic which created a havoc, now the things have started improving, but the printers are facing loss of business due to the unprecedented hike in the prices of raw materials, such as paper, plates and ink.”

He said the prices of raw material have shot up by 30-35%, threatening to turn the printing business unviable. He added that in addition to the increase in paper prices, all other input costs, such as manpower, laminating film, freight and other overheads have also witnessed a huge increase of 60-70% in the last few years.

Chopra said, in accordance with the Essential Commodities Act, 1955 (No 10 of 1955), 2 (a) (vii) paper, including newsprint, paperboard and straw board comes under ‘Essential Commodities.’ “We feel this law is not being implemented properly. We wish that government should intervene, to oversee its strict implementation. It will help in improving quality and rationalisation of rates. If there is no check in this regard, printers will be compelled to increase their cost, which will start a vicious cycle of increase in prices all over and affect the industry and the economy of the country,” he explained.

GN Visvakumar, honourary general secretary of AIFMP said, it is seen that over the past five-six months, the paper mills in the country have exponentially increased their prices. This sudden and unnatural spiralling increase in price of basic raw material has caught the printing industry unawares.

“The quantum and frequent increases in prices have knocked the wind out of our sails leaving the printing and packaging industry of India on the brink of collapse,” he said.

He added that with the survival of the industry at stake, it may not be practical for printers anymore to supply the material without an increase of at least 20%. “Already, printers are suffering a lot as they are not able to run the unit to full capacity due to Covid. This increase in the raw material prices will ruin the industry if no attention is given by the government immediately,” he said.

Visvakumar added that printing is an intermediary industry and most of the printers are operating in micro sector and are bound to abide by the contracts and tenders signed with private and various government agencies. “Thus, printers are stuck between manufacturers who increase the prices of raw material without any consideration and customers who are not willing to pay the additional costs demanded by the printers, due to the increase of raw material. This will seriously impact the publishing and packaging industry,” he explained.