The Bill aims to improve business operations by shortening the title registration process from a lengthy 2-3 years to a more efficient 60-day period.
In a notable development, the Lok Sabha has approved the Press and Registration of Periodicals Bill, 2023, marking a departure from the longstanding Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867. The Bill, previously sanctioned by the Rajya Sabha during the Monsoon Session, introduced a modernised online system for the allocation of titles and periodical registration, eliminating the necessity for physical interfaces.
This updated process is anticipated to simplify and expedite procedures, notably benefiting small and medium publishers by removing bureaucratic complexities associated with starting a publication. An important feature is the omission of the requirement for publishers to file declarations with District Magistrates or local authorities.
Information & Broadcasting Minister Anurag Singh Thakur, presenting the Bill in the Lok Sabha, emphasised the government's commitment to modernise laws, reduce criminality, and enhance ease of doing business. The legislation achieves a substantial decriminalisation of the outdated statute, proposing financial penalties instead of convictions for certain violations. Additionally, it establishes a credible appellate mechanism under the chairperson of the Press Council of India.
The Bill addresses the ease of doing business by ensuring that the title registration process, previously a lengthy 2-3 years, will now be completed within a more expedient 60-day period. This development reflects the government's dedication to fostering an environment conducive to press freedom and streamlined business processes in India. The nation is poised to embrace a more modern and efficient approach to periodical registration, marking a significant moment in legislative evolution.