The mandate of increasing the employees’ wages by 80%-85% is unsustainable
The internet and television have diminished the demand for traditional newspapers over the years. At the same time, a bite has been taken out of the profit margins of print media houses.
And at a time when the newspaper industry is struggling to keep its heads above the water, the government has declared the ninth wage board that would make it even harder for the newspapers to remain profitable.
The imposition of this wage board, without satisfactory representation and discussion with the representatives of newspaper owners, operators, and employees, is unrealistic and imprudent. Simply put, the mandate of increasing the employees’ wages by 80%-85% is unsustainable. The state should not be setting terms for newspapers in this way -- which are autonomous institutions by structure.
Implementing a wage board can be a challenging task, and if it is as unfeasible as the proposed one, it may become impossible.
A robust and free press is necessary for the well-being of any nation. But the autonomy of the press should not be compromised for newspapers to be able to do their job.
At the very least, all stakeholders concerned should reach an agreement regarding the rules of the wage board, with participation being voluntary. The imposition of too many stringent government regulations opens it up to the possibility of political manipulation.
Newspapers are the lifeblood of a democratic nation and the record keeper of history. The government should help create an environment which keeps newspapers strong, free, and profitable.