Trade fair opens, likely to attract 1.5 million visitors

New Delhi, Nov 14 (IANS) President Pranab Mukherjee Wednesday inaugurated the 32nd edition of the India International Trade Fair (IITF), which is expected to attract 1.5 million visitors over the next two weeks.

Over 6,000 exhibitors, both domestic and foreign, are showcasing their products and services at the annual event held at Pragati Maidan in the heart of the national capital.

"The IITF has acted as a vehicle to showcase the economy and social development over the last three decades, and gaining its popularity and moving from strength-to-strength," Mukherjee said while addressing the inaugural function of the 14-day event.

Referring to the recent measures taken by the government, Mukherjee said it would help boost growth and curb fiscal deficit.

"The government has recently unveiled several policy measures designed to put economy back on high growth trajectory," he said.

He said the measures like allowing overseas investments in multi-brand retail and reducing subsidies on petroleum products would help revive economic growth and control fiscal deficit.

Rita Menon, chairperson and managing director of India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO), responsible for organising the event, told reporters that the number of visitors was likely to increase to 1.5 million this year as compared to 1.4 million last year.

In the first five days only business visitors will be allowed. The 14-day fair will open for the common public from Nov 19 and end Nov 27.

The entry fee for the annual event has been revised upward. The ticket rate for general people on weekdays has been raised by Rs.10 to Rs.50. Ticket fee for children for the weekdays will be Rs.30.

On weekends and holidays, each adult will be required to pay Rs.80 and children Rs.50 for entry to the fair that has over 250 foreign exhibitors from 21 countries.

Entry ticket fee for business days that run Nov 14-18 is Rs.400.

Overseas participation in the fair is from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Canada, China, Cuba, Czech Republic, Egypt, Ghana, Hong Kong, Iran, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Belarus, Russia, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey, UAE and Vietnam.

Belarus is the "partner country" while South Africa is the "focus country" in this year's fair.

Addressing the inaugural function, Belarus Prime Minister Mikhail Myasnikovich said the event would help increase economic engagements between the two countries.

Belarus has the largest overseas participation in this year's event. As many as 57 major firms from different sectors like infrastructure, automobiles, chemicals and food and beverages are participating in the event.

Myasnikovich said economic engagements and bilateral trade between India and Belarus has been much below potential.

"Bilateral trade between the two countries is considerably lower than the existing potential. We can establish joint ventures for production of agriculture equipment and increase cooperation in exploring hydrocarbon energy and modernisation of petrochemical set ups," Myasnikovich said.

Myasnikovich said India and Belarus should increase engagement in the sectors like pharmaceutical, biotechnology and information technology.