India debuted in New Delhi, the first “BRICS Trade Fair” at Pragati Maidan from 12 – 14 October, the show was mandated to FICCI. Additional Director of FICCI (Trade Fairs), Praveen Kumar Mittal, on the helm of the affairs met Neetu Nigam, the TFT correspondent fro New Delhi and spoke on the Lows and Highs of the “BRICS Trade Fair” journey. What follows here is excerpts from the exclusive Q and A.
TFT : This is the first time that India has organised the BRICS Fair. Please elaborate a bit about BRICS for our readers?
Praveen : As we all know, BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) is a forum of five countries and their trade relations. This is the 7th BRICS business forum which is being held here in India.
When our PM attended his first political BRICS summit, he said, “We should also do something in order to attach bilateral trade with BRICS and should provide such a platform that the member countries could directly deal with each other”. Thence, he proposed BRICS Fair, the very first trade fair of the series and offered to host the same in India. In the process, we identified twenty common sectors between BRICS nations and hence invited these sectors.
TFT : What kinds of challenges did you face during the course?
Praveen : Doing anything for the first time generally invites problem. But we really didn’t face any major issue because of the great support from Ministry of External Affairs, Govt. of India. We had huge support from Ministry of Commerce as well. We also received good support from the five nations and their respective embassies. Yes, since it happened for the first time, it took a lot of time to convince the companies to participate.
TFT : Despite all the support, FICCI could not generate business to the exhibitors. Except India, participation of other BRICS nations was mostly missing?
Praveen : No, every nation participated equally. For example Russia came with their railways. I think it’s quite satisfactory.
TFT : Could you confirm the numbers of exhibitors and and delegates?
Praveen : Overall there are three hundred and ninety exhibitors, out of them hundred and eighty five are from India and rest of them from overseas. I am unable to share detailed information now,however, if we count, there were over ten thousand visitors till the 13th. The show is quite good considering the debut.
TFT : Exhibitors are not very happy.I spoke to many of them, most of them complained about the much lesser turn out than estimated?
Praveen : This is a very unique event. You will not get a lot of footfall at such kinds of the show. This is a B2B event, meant for the those interested in doing business with BRICS nations. The idea was to provide a platform to the BRICS nations and we feel that even this being the first event. We did our best.
TFT : Has FICCI accomplished whatever it anticipated?
Praveen : The end was quite good. There are a few things that need to be worked out. We are in a learning phase.
TFT: What kind of business profile attended the fair and conclave?
Praveen : Twelve hundred plus meetings happened here. Profile has been largely importers and exporters.
TFT: FICCI is the one of the organizations doing b2b meetings. How do you rate India as a country for exhibitions and events ?
Praveen : First thing is to improve the infrastructure. Secondly, there are too many shows on similar subjects. India is a growing economy. There is a lot of potential. Everybody wants to come and showcase their product. this definitely shows that India is a best place for fairs and exhibition industry.
TFT : What role should the government play for the sector?
Praveen : They should promote and encourage the industry, and most importantly, the government needs to build the infrastructure. We need more iconic buildings to do fairs and exhibitions.
TFT : Do you feel exhibition industry is benefited because of PM’s frequent overseas visits?
Praveen : Yes, India is being noticed on every platform of the world. The current government is doing quite well. They are promoting India very well.