(Updated as on 17.5.2024)

The Press and Registration of Books (PRB) Act, 1867 and The Registration of Newspapers (Central) Rules, 1956 governed the regulation of printing presses and newspapers printed in India and registration of books and newspapers till 29.2.2024.

With the notification of the Press and Registration of Periodicals (PRP) Act, 2023 and the Press and Registration of Periodicals (PRP) Rules, 2024 with effect from 1.3.2024, the registration and publication of periodicals (which includes newspapers) and the manner of furnishing intimation by printing presses will be governed by the PRP Act, 2023. Also, the PRB Act, 1867 stands repealed after the coming into force of the PRP Act.

The PRP act provides for the appointment of a Press Registrar General of India to carry out the purposes under the Act. The Press Registrar appointed under the PRB Act has taken over as the Press Registrar General. Under the PRP Act, the office of the Registrar of Newspapers of India (RNI) has been renamed as the Office of the Press Registrar General of India (PRGI).

The following FAQ is published for the benefit and guidance of all stakeholders.

1. What are the definitions of various terms in the PRP Act?

The Act defines a "newspaper" as a periodical of loose-folded sheets usually printed on newsprint and brought out daily or at least once a week, containing information on current events, public news, or comments on public news.

A "periodical" is any publication, including a newspaper, which is published and printed at regular intervals containing public news or comments on public news. However, it does not include a book or a journal of scientific, technical, and academic nature.

"Publication" means newspapers, magazines, journals, or newsletters printed periodically and published in India. It includes reproduction in electronic form or any syndication, facsimile edition, for public distribution or access.

"Publishing" means the process of making a work available to the public by issuing or causing to be issued the copies thereof or in any other manner, whether for a price or free of charge. The word "publishing" shall be construed accordingly.

A "facsimile edition" of a periodical means an exact reproduction of the original edition of a foreign publication in English or an Indian language included in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution.

According to the Act, a "journal" means a periodical publication, other than a magazine, which primarily carries academic, scientific, or technical content related to a particular discipline or profession.

A "publisher" is a person responsible for publishing any periodical.

A "printer" is the owner or keeper of a printing press. A "keeper" is a person who manages the day-to-day operations of a printing press, and the owner of which is a non-individual entity.

"Printing" means the reproduction of a periodical through any technology involving mass production of copies, excluding photocopying.

An "owner" is an individual, firm, or any such legal entity owning a periodical.

"Title," in relation to a periodical, means the name of such periodical as may be verified by the Press Registrar General. It should be printed prominently and legibly as the masthead on the front page of that periodical by which it shall be known or be identified.

T h e "specified authority" refers to a District Magistrate or District Collector or such other officer as the State Government or, as the case may be, Union Territory Administration may specify by notification.

2. What is 'Press Sewa Portal' ?

(a) The 'Press Sewa Portal' (www.presssewa.prgi.gov.in) is the online portal developed by the Press Registrar General for receiving various applications, intimations, and documents required under the PRP Act and Rules. Certificates of Registration of periodicals are also issued on the portal.
(b) Various stakeholders (owner, printer, publisher etc. can register on the portal and create their profiles and request various services available through the portal. The following services are/ will be available on the portal:

i) Intimation by printer of a periodical as specified in Sec 3 of PRP Act.
ii) Application by a publisher for obtaining a new certificate of registration including a facsimile edition of a foreign periodical.
iii) Application form for revision of particulars in certificate of registration like language, periodicity, place of publication, printer/ printing press, editor, publisher, price revision, transfer of ownership etc.
iii) Ceasing of publication. 
iv) Filing of Annual statement.
v) Payment of penalties.
vi) Apply for verification of circulation of a periodical. 
vii) Submit copy of the periodical for regularity .

3. What are the compliances required for a printing press under the PRP Act?
  1. For a new press (commencing operation after 1.3.2024): Within thirty days of starting the printing press, an intimation is required to be sent to the Press Registrar General and the specified authority on the Press Sewa Portal. Particulars and documents as specified in the Press Sewa Portal are to be submitted during the intimation process.
  2. For presses existing before 29.2.2024: create a profile on the portal at the earliest.
4. How can a publisher initiate the process for obtaining a Certificate of Registration for a periodical under section 7 of the Press and Registration of Periodicals Act, 2023?

The following steps need to be followed to submit an application for registration of a periodical:

  1. The title owner creates a profile on the portal.
  2. In case, the owner has existing registered tittles, the same are to mapped from the existing database of the RNI.
  3. To apply for a new title, the owner fills up details of language, periodicity and proposed place of publication along with title options. Title Allocation Guidelines must be adhered to while filling title options. Application not in accordance with the Guidelines, shall be rejected.
  4. The owner invites the appointed publisher on the portal by giving name, email id and mobile number (in case, the owner is also the publisher, the appropriate option may be chosen).
  5. The publisher, on receipt of link from the portal, creates his/ her profile and submits application on the portal for registration giving requisite details for registration, makes fee payment (on-line through the BharatKosh) with Aadhaar based e-sign. An application submitted without e-sign will not be entertained.
  6. The Press Sewa Portal will generate an acknowledgement along with a unique 10-digit Applicant Reference Number (ARN). The ARN is to be used by the publisher for all future correspondences and references.
5. Is it possible to make corrections or remove omissions in the application, and if so, within what timeframe?

Yes, the publisher can make corrections or remove omissions in the application within five days of initial submission and submit the application again with e-sign.

6. How does the Press Registrar General verify the application and what happens if deficiencies are identified?

The Press Registrar General verifies the application for completeness, payment of fees, adherence to guidelines, and other necessary particulars. Deficiencies, if any, will be communicated within seven working days of receiving the application. The publisher has thirty days to rectify these deficiencies. If deficiencies are not removed within thirty days, the application may be rejected.

7. Is the application required to be submitted to and authenticated by the Magistrate/ Specified Authority, as was the process under the old PRB Act, 1867?

No. The procedure of physical submission of application and subsequent authentication by the area magistrate mandated under the PRB Act, 1867 has been done away with in the PRP Act. Application submitted by the publisher on the press sewa portal, after the removal of deficiencies, if any, will be forwarded to the Specified Authority by the Press Registrar General through the Portal itself and the Specified Authority will furnish no-objection or comments within the specified period.

8. Am I required to apply for Title verification first and later for title registration.

As per the new PRP Act 2023, which has replaced the old system under the PRB Act 1867, the two separate processes of title verification and registration are now replaced by a single Periodical Registration Process which is completely online.

9. What happens if the Press Registrar General decides not to grant registration and what steps can the publisher take?

If the Press Registrar General decides not to grant registration, an online communication is issued to the publisher specifying the reasons. The publisher has ten days to submit a reply on the Press Sewa Portal. The Press Registrar General, after considering the reply, may either grant or refuse registration. If registration is refused, a speaking order specifying the grounds is sent to the publisher on the Press Sewa Portal.

10. How is the process of application for Facsimile edition initiated?

An Indian entity wishing to publish a facsimile edition is required to apply first on the National Single Window System for obtaining approval from the ministry of I & B as per the guidelines laid down on this behalf by the Ministry.

After obtaining the approval of the Ministry, the publisher is required to apply for registration on the Press Sewa portal within 15 days.

11. How to apply when owner is a non-individual company etc?

In case the owner is a non-individual, the owner can authorise an applicant on its behalf by providing an authority letter to the individual. The applicant will be able to file the form for title options and invite a publisher for submitting the application online. The applicant will be given all rights to carry out the duties on the Press Sewa Portal on behalf of the owner.

12. What happens to my title which were already verified under PRB Act and not registered yet.?

The owner has the option to file the Registration form online after selecting the option of ‘already verified title’. The owner can map the title using his title code online and then fill the form for registration.

13. How to register a journal ?

As per the PRP Act 2023, Journals will not be considered for registration. According to the Act, a "journal" means a periodical publication, other than a magazine, which primarily carries academic, scientific, or technical content related to a particular discipline or profession.

14. How can a Keeper/ Printer make changes in the details in respect of printing press?

The press keeper can apply for change in the press details through the Press Sewa Portal. The keeper will have to fill the form for changes in Press details only. Information to the PRGI office and to the Specified Authority office (DM/JCP etc) will be sent by the portal itself and the user is not required to send Physical copies to any office.

15. Can an owner of a printing press add more than one presses in his profile?

Any owner of the Press can add presses in the Press Sewa Portal using the same login id. The portal, at present, provides the facility to add two presses in the single profile. You have the select the option for ‘Add new Press in the Portal’.

16. How to apply for ownership transfer?

The process is as follows:

  1. Before the process of transfer of ownership is initiated by an owner, it must be ensured that all penalties in respect of all editions of all the titles have been paid.
  2. All editions of a Title will be transferred together to the new owner. Splitting of ownership of a title is not permissible. In case, any edition of a title is identified as defunct or is not being published, the same should be ceased before initiating the transfer of ownership of a title.
  3. After ensuring the steps at a0 and b0 above, ownership transfer will be initiated by the Original Owner (transferer) on the Press Sewa Poratal by choosing the option for ownership transfer. Once the Original (transferer) owner invites the new owner (transferee), the new owner (transferee) should apply for the change of ownership of the newspaper on the Press Sewa Portal. They need to fill out the application form provided and submit it along with the required documents, payment of a fee of one thousand rupees.
  4. Verification and Comments: The Press Registrar General will verify the application and obtain comments from the new specified authority within sixty days from the date of receipt of the application.
  5. Permission or Communication: If the Press Registrar General is satisfied with the application, permission will be granted for the change of ownership. Otherwise, if permission is not granted, reasons for the decision will be provided to the owner giving ten days to submit a written reply.
  6. Consideration of Reply: After receiving the written reply from the owner, the Press Registrar General will reconsider the application. Based on the reply, either permit the change in ownership and issue a written permission on the Press Sewa Portal, or refuse to grant permission.
  7. Revised Certificate: If the application is limited only to the change in ownership, the Press Registrar General will issue a revised certificate of registration. However, if the change in ownership involves changes in any other particulars of the newspaper, the new publisher must apply for registration following the procedure outlined in rule 5 within thirty days of receiving permission for the change of ownership.
17. How to apply for printer change?

The Publisher can file the Revision of Registration form online and select the new press for printer change. If the Press is same however only the press keeper is changed, the publisher will have to select the same press, which will automatically populate the name of new keeper in the application form. The form shall be submitted online by e-signing the application for revision in the Certificate. Once the PRGI receives the application, the changes will be done in the certificate within the prescribed time limit and the new CR will be available online for download.

18. Is it mandatory to apply for revised registration if the press keeper/ printer changes?

As per the PRP Act 2023, it is mandatory to apply for changes in the certificate with any change in the press details.

19. How to apply for physical/ duplicate certificate.

Since the PRP Act 2023 mandates online certificate only, hence there is no provision of Physical certificate or duplicate certificate. The user can download the Certificate using the Press Sewa Portal.

20. How to apply for a new edition of existing title?

The procedure of, in case of applying for a new edition of the existing title remains nearly the same except that the already registered titles are required to be mapped first to the owner’s profile. While choosing the title options, the name of the existing title is to be given. on the press sewa portal. It should be ensured that all pending penalty (for all editions of all the titles under the ownership) is paid before the application is submitted.