Every newspaper publisher is liable to furnish RNI Annual Statement to the Press Registrar for their respective publications. Non-filing of an annual statement is deemed as a violation.
Registrar of Newspaper for India
The office of Registrar of Newspaper for India (RNI), a government office, was established on 1st July 1956 on the recommendation of the First Press Commission in 1953. The Press and Registration of Books Act define the functions and duties of the RNI.
RNI now performs both statutory and non-statutory functions due to an increase in its responsibilities. RNI publishes important statistics related to Indian Press on a yearly basis, focusing on registered newspapers. Its statutory functions include compliance and maintenance of a registered newspaper registered with RNI, scrutiny and analysis of RNI Annual Statements filed annually, verification and circulation of newspapers, etc. However, its non-statutory function is to issue an Eligibility Certificate, Essentiality Certificate and No Newspaper Certificate.
The headquarter of RNI is in New Delhi. It had several regional offices, but eventually, Ministry closed them. First Shimla Office was closed in 1977, and then in 2016, all other regional offices that were at Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bhopal and Guwahati were also closed, and assets of these offices were taken over by Press Information Bureau offices in respective stations.
RNI Annual Statement
Annual Statement has been defined under Section 19D of the Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867. It states that an Annual Statement is required to be furnished by newspapers. It is stated in the same section that it is the duty of the publisher of every newspaper:
- To furnish to Press Regulation an Annual Statement in respect of newspaper at the prescribed time and containing such particulars as prescribed under the relevant provisions of the Act, and
- To publish in the newspaper at the prescribed time such particulars relating to the newspaper as prescribed by the Press Registrar.
The Annual Statement should be present in front of the Press Registrar on or before the last day of May month of the following year. For example, if you, a publisher, are filing this RNI Annual Statement for Financial Year 2021-2022, it must be in front of the Press Registrar on or before 31st May of 2022. The publishers who have not filed annual statements of previous years can file them with the requisite government fine for non-filing of Annual Statement. Failure in the timely filing of the Annual Statement may attract penal provisions of the Press and Registration of Books Act.
If the circulation of a newspaper crosses 2000 copies per publishing day, then a certificate from Chartered Accountant is filed along with the Annual Statement, and in case such certificate is not produced by the publisher, then filed Annual Statement is considered invalid. And if the circulation is below 2000 copies, then only a self-certification is required to be submitted by the publisher. An Annual Statement is the essential document based on which the RNI undertakes compilation and analysis of the status of Press in India, which is provided in its Annual Report, called “Press in India”. Credible documentation and holistic analysis of the print and press media are only possible with the cooperation of all the publishers. Annual Statements were received 100 per cent for the first time for Financial Year 2013-14, and the number was 19,660. For the year 2016-17, 31,028 Annual Statements were submitted, including 1,472 Annual Statements for some Miscellaneous Publications.
As per Section 19D of the Press and Registration Books Act 1867, Form II, as prescribed for RNI Annual Statement filing in the Registration of Newspaper (Central) Rules 1956, is required to be submitted by all the publishers of newspapers to Press Registrar each year on or before last day of May. Submission of Annual Statement is proof of regulating newspaper publication, and non-submission attracts penalties or cancellation of Registration. Even after the non-submission of the Annual Statement, the newspaper is not included by DAVP in the panel for granting advertisements.
Requirement of Form II for RNI Annual Statement filing
Followings are the basic requirements of Form II for filling out Annual Statements:
- Registration Number of the Newspaper
- Declaration under which the newspaper is published.
- Title of the newspaper
- Language(s) of the published newspaper of the publisher
- Periodicity of its publication (daily, tri-weekly, bi-weekly, weekly, Fortnightly, etc.) If daily, then whether a morning or evening newspaper
- Publisher’s Details such as Name, Nationality, Address
- Place of Publication (Complete address)
- Printer’s Details including Printer Name, Nationality Address
- Name of the printing press where newspaper(s) is being printed
- Description of the premises on which the press is installed
- Editor’s Details including Name, Nationality, Address
- Size of the page of the newspaper in metres and its description
- The average number of pages per week in respect of daily, bi-weekly, tri-weekly and weekly newspapers
- Number of days of publication in the year
- Circulation Details
- Retail selling price per copy (if the newspaper is for free distribution, then “for free distribution” is stated, and if it has only an annual subscription and no retail price, then an annual subscription is stated)
- Declaration by Publisher
- Certificate by Chartered Accountant including details of such Chartered Accountant
- Details of ownership
Process of RNI Annual Statement filing
Publishers of all registered publications require to file their annual Statement for the previous Financial Year by the end of the month of May, i.e., by 31st May of the present year, to the RNI. It is mandatory for all publishers to file an RNI return.
The steps by step process for filing of Annual Statement with RNI is as follows:
- Publisher provides signature and Chartered Accountant Certificates for filing of RNI Annual Statements.
- Publisher downloads Form II and fill the same will all the correct information as per the requirement of the Form, including Registration Number.
- Publisher files Annual Statement and then keeps a copy of such filed Annual Statement as a receipt for future reference.
Since Financial Year 2012-13, the online filing of Annual Statement has been provided to the publishers, which is more accessible than a manual one and offers speed, accuracy and security.
Summarising all the information provided above, we conclude that every registered publisher of the newspaper files the RNI Annual Statement, and non-submission attracts a penalty or sometimes even cancellation of Registration. Section 19D of the Press and Registration Books Act 1867 mandates all registered publishers to file their annual statements for their publications. The Registrar of Press for India (RNI) also provides the procedure for such filing of Annual Statement. And now Ministry has allowed for online filling of Annual Statements for the benefit of publishers as it is easy and speedy.
Read our Article:Requirements and Procedure for RNI Title Registration