DEMONETISATION IMPACT: GLOBAL TRADE FAIR SEEN AS LACKING PAST ALLURE
Fri 18, 2016
The 36th India International Trade Fair, displaying products from states and countries, is often an indicator of the country's business sentiment. On Monday, when IITF opened, things looked low-key despite it being a holiday. Although the fair will open to the general public on Saturday, crowds typically start visiting with special passes from day one. Stall representatives pointed to demonetisation (note ban) as the primary reason why people were hardly upbeat. Cash is coming the hard way after waiting in long queues, and clearly Indians don't want to spend it on shopping or travelling, said a person manning a state stall. The Union health ministry stall did not receive even a tenth of the people it got in the previous two years on the opening day. Those in the stall said at least 1,000 persons visited their stall each day from day one, this time not even 100 came. A salesperson from the Andhra Pradesh stall said the business was down by some Rs 35,000 through the day compared to the previous year. Those who came, mostly indulged in window-shopping.The stall representing Gujarat, the home state of prime minister Narendra Modi and usually a popular shopping destination, was almost empty by early evening. However, Digital India may have had its influence on the stall as the manager said payment through mobile wallet would facilitate business in the coming days.
Earlier in the day, President Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated the fair, which will see participation of more than 150 companies from 27 countries. This year's edition of the fair is being held between November 14 and 27. The president said, "Digital technologies, e-commerce, e-enabled mobile services are major components of e-governance and will over time contribute significantly to GDP growth. " Speaking on goods and services tax, he said the range of reforms being undertaken would enable states and Union territories to compete with each other in attracting investments. "Over the medium and long term, these reforms shall also hopefully result in job creation. Thus, contributing to the growth impulses of the economy," Mukherjee said. The president termed IITF "a mega projection of the new India", that is fast taking shape. This year, IITF has South Korea as the partner country while the focus country is Belarus.
SOURCE: The Business Standard