As Indian publishers are suffering from a financial budget proposal of 5% customs tax on foreign books, in neighboring Nepal a 10% tax on foreign titles has left publishers, booksellers, as well as students reeling, as Kathmandu imports over 80 % of its books from India.
A while after the Nepal government on May 29 declared a 10 % duty on imported books, publishers quit picking up books at the Nepal customs place in protest and have required that the take be rolled back. Without any textbooks entering Nepal, the student society has been impacted the most, say publishing company.
“Around 80-90 % of books in Nepal are brought in, and many of it from India. Now the students, such as those in Classes 10 and 11, are not having textbooks on time. The National Booksellers’ and Publishers’ Association of Nepal (NBPAN) has determined not to import any books in protest. We import 90-95 percent of educational and textbooks from India,” a noted bookseller in Kathmandu informed IANS on the telephone, declining to be named.
Based on Madhab Maharjan, Advisor to NBPAN and owner of Mandala Book Point in Kathmandu, the 10 % customs tax will attract other taxes, like the price, insurance, and freight tax as well as other charges, further pushing up the cost of imported books.
“Books worldwide are sold at the printed price. With the customs tax and the added fees, it will be difficult to sell imported books to educational institutions, libraries, and students,” Maharjan informed IANS over the phone from Kathmandu.
He stated they have asked for the KP Sharma Oli government to take away the tax. “We have a long custom of importing books from India. Religious books were brought in from Benaras in the 20th century. Right now the import of books is limited to New Delhi,” said Maharjan, buying that scholars, academics, and specialists are raising their voices in worry against the go through the print and social media site.
The 10 % overtax will hamper the free stream of guides and also influence the reading habit of students, states Mahajan. Based on him, a Nepali journalist in a report in a local every day asked Finance Minister Yuba Raj Khatiwada, that is a Ph .D. in economics , whether it had been a theory of political economy to impose the customs tax on books when they require was to develop the reading behavior and tradition of the people.
The reason behind stopping the publications at the customs point was since “as soon as we import we are going to have to boost the price, and next to the old stocks need to be sold at the old price”.
“Thus you will have two prices of the book in one book shop. It will create a mistake with students, readers, scholars, research workers and academics at huge with whom we need to handle every day,” Maharjan said.
He additional: “We do not want anybody taking undue benefit of the situation, such as politically encouraging the students. Thus we have opted for this shift not to import books till we arrived at a final decision.”
Based on him, the beginning of the digital era has hit booksellers and publishers. “There are very few book shops left, and with moves like this booksellers will not survive for long.”
A lot of Nepali publishers printing their books in India and previously would have to pay 15 % tax. “Now they are asked to pay 10 percent duty on total imports. The previous system was better to guard the local industry,” Maharjan said.
The variety of students pursuing higher education in Nepal under Management, Humanities, Science, and Education stands at around 400,000, and they could be directly hit by the tax on books imported from India.
Based on Maharjan if India revokes the 5% responsibility on imported books the move “may help to revoke 10 percent duty in Nepal too”.
KPR Nair, Managing Director Konark Publishers in Delhi, stated Indian publishers are aware of the circumstance in Nepal and are trying to help. “They have requested our help, and we will help them,” Nair, a veteran in the publishing industry, informed IANS.