Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Posted at: Apr 14, 2019, 8:09 AM; last updated: Apr 14, 2019, 8:09 AM (IST)SHORTAGE IN CITY

Online firms sell NCERT books above MRP

Naina Mishra

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 13

There is a shortage of National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) books with city booksellers. Parents have laid hands on ‘online shopping’ only to find that NCERT textbooks are being sold eight times more than the maximum retail price (MRP).

Many parents have alleged that books that are unavailable in the market are being sold in ‘black’ at Amazon, an online shopping site.

According to city booksellers, books that are not available in the local market include mathematics for Class VI, VII and VIII and English for Class IX.

A Class VI mathematics textbook, whose MRP is Rs 50, is being sold in between Rs 300 to Rs 420 at a popular online shopping site. Similarly, a Class VI science textbook, whose MRP is Rs 50, is being sold online for Rs 140 to Rs 590.

On checking the profile of sellers, who charged an exorbitant amount for NCERT books, it was found that most of them were based in Bangalore.

Besides earning more than 80 per cent profit, these vendors charge Rs 100, which is added to the total amount for delivering an NCERT book at a particular address.

Plaint against online sellers likely

The Chandigarh Parents Association (CPA) president, Nitin Goyal, said, “We have been fighting tooth and nail against the nexus between private schools and private publishers of textbooks. Now, NCERT books are also being sold at the same or a price higher than private publishers.”

“Black marketers are taking advantage of the NCERT textbook shortage. It is, in fact, a failure of the NCERT itself and also the Education Department, which has not been able to ensure timely and sufficient supply of textbooks at local stores,” he added.

“It is clear that black marketers are more efficient than the Education Department officials in making a better estimate of the market demand and securing stock of books well in advance,” he said.

“However, selling any consumer goods at more than the printed MRP is a punishable offence with at least one year imprisonment, besides other penal consequences. We are going to file criminal complaint against these black marketers as well as Amazon to get their licence cancelled,” he added.

Shortage of books hits parents in Delhi

The problem of the NCERT books shortage is not confined to the city, but has also hit the National Capital Region (NCR). A Gurgaon-based parent, Arvind Mohan Mittal, recently took to Twitter to alert the NCERT and the MHRD about the availability of NCERT books online at a higher price.

He tweeted: “Mathematics Class VI textbook priced at Rs 50 is being black marketed at Rs 300 to Rs 400. School textbooks unavailable elsewhere are being sold online at higher price.”

While talking to The Tribune, he shared, ‘I have visited dozens of shops in New Delhi, but could not find Class VI mathematics book. Even the book depot at the CBSE building in Preet Vihar did not provide books asked for. These books are black marketed online.”


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