Small Businesses, Big Platform: India International Trade Fair 2016

The India International Trade Fair 2016 also known as The Big Boss of all Fairs is currently going on in the capital from 14th Nov-27th Nov’16 at Pragati Maidan. This cornerstone of the Indian trading scene with a carnival like atmosphere has 7000 traders participating this year and the Digital India theme projects a deep commitment to fulfil the vision of PM Modi with various innovative stalls.

Paying a visit on the first day for the common people, we observed that the scene this year is a little different. As opposed to the tremendous crowd every year, the number of attendees this time has been severely affected by the demonetization policy of the central government. Reaching at 10 in the morning, it hardly took us 5 minutes to get inside whereas it used to be hour long waits in the queues for entry till the last year.

Besides various business stalls, cultural programs and food joints, there is a reliable and tested platform for small & medium enterprises as well, organized by the Ministry of Small & Medium Enterprises. Set up in hall no 07, small and medium businesses across India are representing themselves with their best products. The expo has various traders from across the nation including states like Assam, Himachal Pradesh, Kerela, Andhra Pradesh, New Delhi et cetera dealing in jewelry, food products, handloom, handicrafts and footwear to cite a few.

The traders are highly disappointed by the level of sales being hit due to demonetization, albeit the support in favor of this move has not been affected at all. Durga Das Thakur, a 40 year old trader from Himachal Pradesh says “Ye effect temporary hai, ye move ana bahaut hi zaruri tha hamare desh k liye jaha kala dhan desh ko aage nahi badhne de raha tha. Main Modi Ji k sath hu, sales agle saal ho jayega” (This effect is temporary and the move was highly important in the country where the black money was not letting the country grow. I support Modi, sales will happen from next year). In yet another significant move, the government has promised to provide the machines to enable online transactions to each of these traders at the mere cost of Rs. 130 as opposed to an average of Rs. 10,000 in the market. This is expected to ease the pain of all these traders who are not able to cover the cost of the rent also as of now. Moreover, this thoughtful move will provide opportunities to these small traders to be a part of digitized India.

We also met many small traders whose stories inspired us profoundly. One such female entrepreneur whose story is worth sharing is of Mrs. Jharna Medhi, a 40 year old female entrepreneur hailing from a small village called Samaguri, Assam. With an inherited passion of cooking from her mother, Medhi started a business of pickles post marriage with mere 5 kgs of raw mangoes in hand. From those 5 kgs in the 1990 to having bagged the title of “Best State Female Entrepreneur” by 2016,

she perfectly depicts how small can be big.

The India International Trade Fair, therefore is successful in bringing up the small artisans and traders spread around the country to a big platform where they are at par with the big businesses and showcase their skills and innovations to a much wider audience. 
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