India has an unchallenged global leadership in handmade carpets with an impressive 38% share in world exports.

TFT: Let us know something about CEPC 2016. How is it going to help in carpet industry?
Kuldeep: Indian carpet expo is an ideal platform for International carpet buyers, buying houses, buying agents, architects and Indian carpet manufacturers & exporters to meet and establish long term business relationships. This is for the first time that 58 countries have participated in the expo, where buyers from countries like Zimbabwe, Vietnam, Palestine, Bulgaria, Israel, Egypt, Poland, Ukraine, Malaysia, Mauritius, Taiwan, Serbia, Colombia and Hungary are attending for the first time. About 260 to 300 cr of business was generated at the previous edition. This year we were expecting a growth rate of about 10 to 15 percent in terms of dollar and 15 to 20 percent in rupee term. This expo has opened up new market opportunities for the industry and has helped small and medium Indian carpet exporters to promote their products to overseas countries. Eventually, this ongoing process, on a broader scale, was instrumental in projecting “Make in India Brand” in overseas markets. Government has set up a target of Rs.10, 000 crore (US $ 1591 million) carpets & floor  covering export for the fiscal year 2015- 2016, which we will achieve.

TFT: What is the current position of the Indian carpet industry?
Kuldeep: In spite of many ups and down in international market, 2015 was a steady year for us. Regional economic and political problems have adversely impacted our carpet exports. But demand in USA has picked up, increasing its share in our exports up to 43.84% from 35%. During FY
2015-16 we shall meet the target of Rs. 10,000 crore, which is much higher than Rs. 8,441.95 crore in FY 2014-15.

TFT: What is the share of handmade carpets in global consumption?
Kuldeep: Just around 10-12 percent. Overall it is less because in the contract and project markets mostly machine made carpets are popular. These
segments are the major carpet buyers in the world. Handmade carpets are more in pieces of art and craft, which are asked by the discerning buyers. They are long lasting too.

TFT: Why did you change the venue again this year? CEPC had good business at the last venue?
Kuldeep: Actually, last year we had organized the fair at Pragati Maidan, but before that we used to organize it here at NSIC Exhibition Complex, Okhla Industrial Estate. There are different halls in Pragati Maidan, for visitors to cover the entire exhibition is quite difficult. But when we heard that the pending work was completed at NSIC Exhibition Complex, we came back here. Now we have everything under one roof and parking space is also good. Exhibitors can come with their products to the exhibition center easily. In Pragati Maidan, it was difficult to manage.

TFT: But many exhibitors and visitors are not happy with this venue. On one side the visitors are confused on how to reach the venue and on the other side they are unhappy with the facilities. Most of the exhibitors are complaining that the AC is not working, power cut problem, etc. Even they feel footfall is also less as compared to last exhibition?
Kuldeep: No…It is not correct. Even this year number of buyer’s has increased. We had 350 buyers last year and this year it’s about 432. I can say this is one of the most successful exhibitions till now. But holidaymakers did not come here that’s why it looked empty. Meanwhile, the carpet fair is extended with every event that’s why we will require a big space in the future. We are planning to organize the next event in Noida’s India mart center. That place is spacious and comes under the craft Minister. So we will get all facilities without any distraction. Exhibitors and visitors will not face parking and electricity problem. They will get everything easily at one place.

TFT: Along with the venue, are you planning to change the exhibition’s timing as well? Many exhibitors have said that if Delhi’s (March) and Banaras’s (October) exhibition are swapped with each other, it will be more beneficial?
Kuldeep: We are organizing two fairs. One is in October and second in March. October is the best time for carpet industry because that time foreign
buyers are generally preparing for Christmas and New Year. That’s why it happens in Banaras only. End of the February and beginning of March
is also a very good time. If we organize Delhi’s event a bit earlier then it is possible that many importers will not attend it, because they would have just returned from the DOMOTEX EVENT. They need some time to make a plan to attend a new event and if we delay it then summer session
will come and during summer they don’t need carpets. So this is the best time and we are not going to change it.

TFT: Are you doing overseas events also?
Kuldeep: Yes, we do a total of 13 events in a year, two events in India and the rest overseas. Countries like China, Japan, and Australia are where we organize the events. Our Council is very active. We take our craft makers to overseas exhibition pro-actively.

TFT: So, will this event also convert from national to international soon?
Kuldeep: No… Never. This fair is only for the made in India carpets. We will promote only our handmade craft makers through this exhibition. We do not need international participants because we have different variety in our nation itself. There are thirty states in India who give a variety in the form of quality, design, fabric etc. they themselves are more or less like thirty different countries. So we do not need to promote other countries. This fair is only for the Indian craftsmen and it will remain only for them. We will convert this into mega event but only for Indian craftsmen.

TFT: Are Indian manufacturers also switching towards the machine-made carpets?
Kuldeep: Some of them are, but only to cater to the domestic demand. But for export, there is no machine made carpet. As India doesn’t have much production of machine made carpets, lot of cheap machine – made carpets are also being imported. BUT IN THE INTERNATIONAL MARKET,
India is clearly known for HANDMADE CARPETS. That is why we have such a large (38%) share of global handmade carpet market.