Letter to BS: Textbook publishers face bleak future as classes go online

Topics Coronavirus | Publishers | Lockdown

The editorial “Selective opening not enough” (April 16) has rightly highlighted the plight of a large number businesses that are heading towards coma. With no visible relief for those in small and medium businesses, they may even lay off staff. Take the example of the school textbook publishers, both big (like NCERT) and small. As per the government guidelines, educational institutions would remain under non-essential services, keeping in mind the safety of children and staff. The HRD minister, on his part, has given a directive that  schools should not waste their academic year and must continue with online classes, with a majority of teachers having no training in conducting online classes.

Meanwhile, except for one or two big textbook publishers who have managed to pay salaries to their staff and some others who have paid only 50 per cent, a large number of publishers have not paid salary to their staff, according to media reports. All the textbook publishers have printed the textbooks, which are either lying in their warehouses or with the printers as they were unable to move them to the schools and book shops across India. 

Like filmmakers, the publishers have no industry status and they do not get finance. Most of them 
reinvest the money which they collect from previous year’s supply. It is time The Federation of Publishers and Booksellers Association in India came out of its slumber and appealed to the government for a tax break of one to two years. If they fail to do so, thousands will face a bleak future.

N Nagarajan  Secunderabad

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