India's Pioneer Media on TradeFairs

Interview of Mr. V.K. Bansal, promoter of Nexgen Group

Actually the Indian Exhibition Industry Association has no space for smaller organizers like us. They don’t listen to us. They are an elite group governed by few of the stakeholders and dominated by overseas players. Small organizers like us are not respected over there. 

 Our government does not recognize exhibition as part of the MICE industry and that is the reason TradeShow organizers face a lot of difficulties.

Nexgen Exhibitions is more than a decade old Indian establishment into B2B Tradeshows. Nextgen Organises B2B events not just in India but also other Asian countries such as Thailand, Bangladesh, Uganda, Kenya and Vietnam.

During the 3rd International Police Expo & Home Security Fair TFT’s City Correspondent Neetu Ajeet Srivastava interviewed V.K. Bansal, promoter of Nexgen Group.

 What follows is the excerpts of the candid and exclusive chat.

Can you shed some light on the 3rd edition of Police Expo?

All weapons and equipment which belong to police department are present here. The government has initiated a defense show, but for police there has been event in the country, hence, we took a lead and here we are.

What is the objective of such a dedicated event on Policing?

The international police Expo is conceptualized to give a single, specialized and dedicated platform for the technology developers, suppliers and forces. It’s focused on everything around the Central Armed Force, Public Security, Disaster Management, which are being required for the protection of public, forces and infrastructure.

If we need smart cities, we also need smart police and you cannot establish a smart city without modernizing police. So as smart city needs smart police, likewise smart police require smart weapons. So the Government can stimulate all those equipment and weapons which make our police modern.

What number of exhibitor are available in this edition of Police Expo?

More than 50 exhibitors are present. USA, UK and Make in India companies are showcasing their engineering and products.

What is your footfall expectation? Who is your primary buyer?

The show is well received and visited by by the various state police, CRPF, BSF and Navy as well.

 Don’t you think that displaying weapons and new technology to undesirable individuals can be harmful to national security ?

 This exhibition is not for civilians. We give entry only after identification. And another thing is that anyone can purchase any weapon after documentation. They have to respect the process. Exhibitors will only be showcasing their merchandise. We have not permitted them to trade. This is a dependable and secure exhibition.

Is government supporting this event commercially or otherwise?

The government allowed us to execute the exhibition on this topic is the biggest support for us.

Where do you see India in MICE?

 Exhibition sector, despite being an 85,000 crore market is not a recognse industry in India. In MICE – E stands for Event but that is not much praised and appreciated here in India. I don’t know whether other feels same or not, but I feel so.

Our government does not recognize the exhibition as a part of the MICE sector and that is the reason the organizers face lot of difficulties. ITPO is the temple of event organizers. We do not ask permission from anyone to worship in the temple, but for organizing an exhibition in ITPO’s exhibition center, we need permission from seven different people. Why so many? If ITPO means India trade Promotion Organisation then it should be a support system for the sector and not an interruption. But every time, before the exhibition, the organizers have to face humiliation in obtaining permissions. Why is there no ‘Single Window’ clearance. Why every time I need a clearance from the traffic police, fire safety and others. I’m not having any entertainment in this show, yet, I have to take entertainment permission.  I’m not going to show in a public arena. I’m doing is showing at an place which is assigned for exhibition, yet, I have to roam around offices to avail licenses.

Some time event organizers call celebrities and that amounts for Entertainment. All permissions are important concerning the safety ?

Yes, every permission is significant. But why we as an organizers are subjected to avail it every time. This should be One Time Clearance and should be availed by ITPO Why should organizers take it every time? The Industry Association should bring up these issues before the Government but unfortunately they are not doing much for the industry.

It is possible that the ITPO & the Government are not aware of this issue hence no step is being taken. Have you brought this case to the exhibition Association’s notice? 

 Actually the so called association has no space for smaller organizers like us. They don’t listen to us. The said Association is like an elite group governed by few of the stakeholders and dominated by overseas players. Small organizers like us are not respected over there.

 If you feel that the association is dominated by a kind of particular class, why don’t people get into your own domestic association? 

We don’t have time for that. Each day starts with tapping the government door and ends with business meetings. How will we find the time? There is already an association which needs tio address these concerns and issues.

ITPO is renovating. Any comments?

ITPO is a stagnant organization. They really don’t know what exactly we are in need of. They are going to build a 10 thousand square foot lobby. My current exhibition is running under two thousand square feet of area. Hence, I will not be eligible to organize my exhibition here in the future because they will not devote the area less than ten thousand square feet and further I will be unable to buy that much of space. Actually, now a days India is working for  only big players and not small entrepreneurs. In that respect there is no space for middle class businessmen.

They are also building up a 5 star hotel nearby, however, most of the hotel inventory in and around ITPO has only 30-40 % occupancy , resulting in huge discount offers by these hotels. The question is who will be benefitted out if this?

In your opinion, what steps should be taken by ITPO to ease out the relationship with private organisers ?

They should provide better facilities to the organiseres, exhibitors and visitors. Their staff should behave in better manner. The gatekeepers should be smiling and respectful. They should speak softly. Visitors should be welcomed, not harassed. Parking should be within reach and miscreants and alcohol drinkers should be vacated from that area.

ITPO should sit with small organizers and should discuss their troubles. Our PM says that I’m talking about the last person of the row. ITPO should perform in that manner.

Do you think that your event is affected due to renovation?

There are definite problems, but only because we do not have any other option – we will have to come here even after being insulted. The place is excellent & reachable. If they become friendlier then it will be more organisers and then the numbers of exhibition will increase.

Is there anything else that you would like convey to ITPO through TFT?

I have to say that ITPO should either work as a venue owner or an event organizer. No double role. At one side they organize events and other side; they govern us. Since they do not pay rent, they sell space at at lower cost (some time half of our offered price) and that creates a tough competition for us. So the Government should close organizing division of ITPO or outsource the venue Management to third party which for transparent and fair competition.