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New ‘Yashobhoomi’ in Delhi will Help Promote Inclusive Growth

29 Sep 2023

With a pragmatic, transformative and focused approach, the Indian government has taken another decisive step to showcase the nation’s prowess during the “Amrit Kaal” through the inauguration of “Yashobhoomi”, the second iconic world-class exhibition centre in Delhi. The exhibition centre, which has among the world’s largest MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions) facilities and has a built-up area of over 180,000 square meters, will play a pivotal role in shaping the India of the future and fulfil the unstoppable dream, and aspiration, of emerging as a developed and prosperous nation when it turns 100 in 2047.

The creation of a singular platform to bring international buyers and the local industry under one roof, where the participants are free to indulge in marketing activities, is an excellent idea which needs to be publicised. Many of these products suffer from lack of marketing facilities and are in faraway areas where there is no proper infrastructure. Some MSMEs and startups may also not have the resources they need to promote their products overseas or even domestically on their own, and hence depend on trade organisations to create such industry platforms.

Hence, at this critical juncture of India’s development journey where the credo of “growth with inclusion” is gaining prominence, Yashobhoomi will, among others, be the exclusive platform for MSMEs, startups and the hitherto neglected artisans and craftsmen to demonstrate their skills, products, and talent on a common stage. This will propel the growth of local industries and help realise the potential of indigenous crafts and specialised products. Such an approach is not only important for adding value to the national economy and create local economic hubs but also contribute towards improved livelihoods of MSMEs and artisans at local community levels.

Besides, the state-of-the-art facilities at Yashobhoomi has taken care to mitigate many concerns associated with participation in exhibitions. The logistics issue has been particularly addressed through multimodal connectivity and “PM Gatishakti”, which looks at issues related to the travel, connectivity and accommodation needs of users.

Second, the coming together of international buyers and sellers in the convention centre with world-class facilities will encourage the revival of the arts and craft products that are unique in numerous districts in the country. This will encourage and promote the Make in India initiative.  It would also incentivise local industry to upgrade their products based on market information, and in line with the demand of buyers and promote the product or service which is aligned to market demand. Depending on the industry, exhibitors can also hold exhibitions to gather business feedback before introducing their products to the public. In fact, our rich legacy of craft forms and artisanal skills as well as agricultural practices hold a certain uniqueness and distinction as they bear the imprint of the geography and history in which they originate, and this may be of special interest to the foreign buyer.

Third, taking the second point forward, iconic structures like Yashoboomi have the potential to help India’s local products to gain access to global markets and enhance international trade. This will bring respect and recognition to MSMEs and craftsman at global levels and create and nurture India’s brand image abroad. Today’s global consumer is also open to new experiences, products and technologies, and this will bring more foreign exhibitors to explore India as a market. 

The labour-intensive exports of the country will increase in the process, thereby opening new opportunities for MSME businesses to explore global markets. This in turn will increase India’s influence in the global marketplace. Nevertheless, for such opportunities to have maximum impact, it is important that some of the problems faced by MSMEs such as that of paucity of cost-effective credit, lack of information, skill upgradation and infrastructure also be simultaneously addressed.

At the same time, to facilitate market access, the government should look at creating a label such as “handmade in India”, and a dedicated online portal to promote the “Made in India” brand. Schemes facilitating and supporting GIs will add to the uniqueness of the products which could be showcased at Yashobhoomi.

Fourth, the empowerment of MSMEs and a fillip to small businesses with exhibitions conducted at Yashobhoomi would facilitate job creation as it encourages the development of new startups across the country and builds entrepreneurship and talent at the local level. What is more, apart from MSMEs who are looking for business, the exhibition industry also provides employment to many small auxiliary vendors who are involved in setting up the venue and putting together the exhibition by designing the stalls, rental of audio-visual equipment, caterers, etc. Even a small exhibition covering around a 50 square metre space will have at least 25 people to set up the venue and deal with the paraphernalia. Hence, the unveiling of Yashobhoomi could emerge as a transformational step for spawning new employment opportunities in the country, increasing the purchasing power of the masses, speeding up socio-economic development, enhancing the quality of life, spurring economic growth, and take us to the goal of “Atma Nirbhar Bharat”.

Over the years, the significance of exhibitions and conferences has grown manifold, as also the importance of exhibition space size. This is borne out from the fact that in 2020, the market for events in India was valued at $3.3 billion, which is expected to leapfrog to a staggering $6.7 billion by 2026, in turn providing an impetus to trade and creating jobs. With India emerging as the fastest growing major economy, Yashobhoomi can offer the ideal platform to harness the tremendous economic, cultural, and social potential of the exhibitions as a key vehicle for nurturing and celebrating India’s diverse talents and promoting inclusive growth.

This article was first published in The Asian Age, on 28th September 2023.