Can you elaborate on “Skilling India”, this year's theme of IITF?
This year the theme is Skilling India. I believe the theme is most pertinent, contemporary and is an extremely important objective of our policy today. The objective of skill development is to create a workforce empowered with the necessary and continuously upgraded skills, knowledge and internationally recognised qualifications to gain access to gainful employment and ensure India's competitiveness in the competitive global market. It aims at increasing the productivity and employability of workforce (salaried and self-employed) both in the organised and the unorganised sectors. It seeks increased participation of youth, women, disabled and other disadvantaged sections as well as synergise efforts of various sectors. Attuning the present system with the enhanced capability to adapt to changing technologies and labour market demands, is yet another important aspect.
How has the fair promoted the theme?
The theme figures prominently in the display scheme of the pavilions of states and union territories as also in stand-alone pavilions. This will bring to focus works undertaken by the NSDC. On the socio-economic front too, the participation of Techmart, Saras, Jute Manufactures Development Council, Coir Board, Khadi and Village Industries among others. The IITF has elicited participation of over 6,000 exhibitors. A notable feature of the fair is the participation by all the states and union territories of India. Around two million visitors including buyers are expected to visit from India and abroad. The visitor profile covers captains of trade and industry, overseas trade delegations, foreign emissaries, business persons, ministers and policy-makers.
Is this year's fair bigger than the last year?
We have made a lot of improvements and at the fair this year. This year, the fair has grown by 25% which necessitated adding three temporary halls. The fair also features the largest ever number of foreign companies (435) this year. The first five days of the fair were kept exclusively for business visitors. In order to give a fillip to product launches, hall 8 has been exclusively earmarked for the purpose.
What is the product profile of IITF 2012?
The product profile of IITF 2012 include cosmetics, healthcare products, service sector, consultancy services, consumer electronics, home and kitchen appliances, fitness equipment, optical and eye care products, textiles, jute and coir, leather goods, footwear, rural art and craft products, products from Khadi (KVIC), ministries and government departments and various products from foreign countries.
Apart from the products and services on display, what other role does the IITF play?
Apart from playing pivotal role in growth and development of Indian industry in a global context, IITF provides a unique forum for business-to-business meetings between business and trade delegations from India and overseas.
As in earlier years, this year too, the IITF projects government initiatives, schemes and policies for different socio-economic sector. This year, the Republic of Belarus has been accorded the status of the 'Partner Country' while, South Africa is the 'Focus Country'. This year, Uttarakhand is participating as partner state and Andaman and Nicobar has been given focus state status.