The Federation of Indian Publishers (FIP) recently organized their 38th annual general meet at New Delhi. Hon’ble justice Markandey Katju (former judge of Supreme Court), chairman, Press Council of India was the chief guest while Jawhar Sircar, secretary, Ministry of Culture, Government of India was the guest of honour.
The meeting started with Sudhir Malhotra welcoming the participants. The formal welcome address was given by Anand Bhushan, president, FIP. He said that chief guest Katju is very much interested in languages and social cause and has a vast knowledge of various subjects. Katju has also written many papers on history and sociology. Bhushan also appreciated Sircar for playing an active role in spreading education and in the development of libraries. He also emphasized the role of FIP in India and overseas including activities like organizing events, book fairs, awards in book production, Indian authors promotions, etc.
Bhushan also expressed their gratitude for getting financial assistance from Ministry of Culture towards the new course of editing at IGNOU and urgent need of library movements, especially for children and on neighbourhood models. He also highlighted the role of FIP in National Book Promotion Policy. He said that FIP has always promoted freedom of expression through publishing but he was concerned about the shortage of bookshops in rural areas. He also desired that postal rates need to be reduced for books. This year, the exports for books/publications amounted to Rs 1,000 crore and next year, target is for Rs 1,400 crore.
Sircar highlighted the grey areas in publishing industry which included non-availability of industry database, delivery of books to national libraries and shortfalls in ISBN numbering system. He told that the system has been re-evolved now and cataloguing in publishing will be done soon. He also informed that online registration will be possible by March/April and then the process for barcoding will also start. He said that print on demand system is on the anvil. He asserted that postal rates issue should be referred to the finance ministry which needs to be done before the union budget. He informed that under their book fair scheme, Rs 10 lakh budget is available for smaller cities. He further informed that they are working very hard on library commission and have also sanctioned Rs 10 crore for Raja Ram Mohan Roy Library.
Besides, Katju expressed his thanks to AN Varma and others for inviting him to the event.
He expressed concern on the kinds of books being published and said that he misses seeing the books of authors like Prem Chand, Bernard Shaw, Charles Dickens, etc to name a few. According to him, people who have not read Ghalib are not educated. He further said, "There is an industrial decline in India and it is worrying that a large number of people are migrating to cities from rural areas." Katju also said that there is a need to explore literary talent in rural, middle class, working class and people who can write on poor people.
He added that social responsibility is very important which is being neglected altogether. He cited that 47 farmers are committing suicide every day for last so many years and 47 percent children are under-nourished in India. These are some of the problems which need to be highlighted through books, so that something can be done on this. He was also concerned about the reading habits going down with children spending more time watching TV and being online.
The vote of thanks was given by Shakti Malik secretary, FIP and the annual meet concluded happily.
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