Activities Round Up

Date : 01 Oct to 01 Oct 2013
Place : New Delhi
Organised by : FISME

FISME’s presentation before Parliamentary Committee


While doing review of India Trade Promotion Organization (ITPO), the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Commerce invited FISME to make a submission on the issue. FISME highlighted that from the numero uno position in organizing trade fairs, ITPO has become a small fringe player surviving primarily because of possessing prime land and its access to MDA and such funds. FISME pointed out that one of the most important reasons for its losing sheen had been its lack dialogue with clients and stake-holders resulting in poor understanding of needs of clients.

It was further informed that owing to contribution of MSMEs to the tune of 40%  to India’s exports and even bigger potential to for them to enhance it further, ITPO used to have special dispensation for MSMEs.  No more so.

When ITPO was conceived there was no institution to organize trade fairs and exhibitions. However, with rapid economic progress since 1991, the technological sophistication of many of the sectors demanded sectoral trade fairs. Organizing Trade Fair has become a specialized field demanding both the specialized domain knowledge, capability to execute large complex projects and deep access in segment of the industry nationally and internationally. ITPO fairs have consistently slipped on most counts during last decades. 

Participation in Trade Fairs is extremely important for MSMEs because it is the best tool to gather market intelligence, to explore new markets, to discover niches in the market place, to examine one's competitiveness, to test the acceptance of the product range, to present product innovations and identify buyers, potential partners, agents, consultants etc.

Spread over 149 acres of prime land in the heart of India's capital, New Delhi, Pragati Maidan offers about 61,290 sq. mtrs. of covered exhibition space in 16 halls, besides 10,000 sq. mtrs. of open display area. Its biggest strengths are: its location and infrastructure- a monopoly position in Delhi and its unique access to Ministry of Commerce and industry and government in general which allows it to tap  large funds, be host to official delegations and secure delegated powers of the Ministry. 

During last 20 years more than two dozen private players- both large and small including international players, have set shops in India. In addition to them, almost all major sectoral associations organize specialized fairs in sectors such as Engineering, Petrochemicals, Auto, Plastics, Rubber, Paper, Electricals, Electronics and hardware, Software etc. Against the 7-8 trade fairs organized by ITPO in India-almost all of them generic type Leather, books, Food etc,  the number of fairs organized at ITPO by third parties exceeds 80 (2012-13).

Weak human resources exacerbate the crisis at ITPO. Administratively also,  barring two IAS officers –Chairman  (retired officer usually a rank of Secretary) and Executive Director (rank of Joint Secretary), there is  a vacuum of empowered officers. Therefore, ITPO is run as an extended department  of the Government rather as a Service Organization where the last person in contact with the client is considered most important.      


The organization needs rebooting. There is a need to re-articulate the aims and objectives of the organization in changed economic realities. The institution needs to identify a role for itself that it can play towards business promotion especially the MSMEs.  An external consulting agency could be appointed for the purpose which should analyze the strengths of ITPO and how it can leverage them for the benefit of the nation. 


The new scheme of things must have a strong institutional mechanism for a regular dialogue with users, MSMEs, clients and partners.