Ms Rita Menon
India Trade Promotion Organization’s Chairperson and Managing Director

“The IITF has set global benchmarks”

India Trade Promotion Organization’s Chairperson and Managing Director, Ms Rita Menon, spoke to Editor Sayantan Chakravarty around the time the world’s largest fair—the India International Trade Fair—was held in November in Delhi

Ms Rita Menon, CMD, ITPO

It’s been about a year since you have been helming the ITPO. What are impressions that you will carry forward into 2013?
I think after 1991, with the opening up of the economy, ITPO has lost its pre-eminence in the area of trade. But having said that, we continue to have the richest data base on matrix of product profiles. There is collation of exhibitor profile through the National Centre for Trade Information that is encouraging. Like prominent industry bodies such as FIEO, CII and FICCI, we have all the professional skills in place to mount exhibitions. But a high-degree of cost cutting is required at ITPO if we must become more competitive.

The IITF remains your flagship event by some distance…
There is no doubt that the IITF is a long-lasting, durable-format event. It is difficult to find another event of this scale that runs for a full 15 days. With over 7,000 + stalls, I would say that purely from the numbers of exhibitors, internationally this is the biggest event, even larger than the Magic Trade Fair at Las Vegas. The Canton Fair comes close, but I’d like to see if it matches the 1.5 million footfalls we have here. And I know that the IITF is very professionally managed. No country can match what is on offer in terms of cultural experiences and those on the culinary front. And let us not forget that it is held right in the middle of a city where you have Parliament just a few kilometers away. It is always a challenge to do a fair of this scale in the heart of the city. Imagine doing something like this in the heart of New York, a city smaller than Delhi. Studies by IIM have shown that the number of people who attend the IITF is second only to numbers that turn up for Kumbh Mela at Allahabad. No other fair has so much diversity, and yet we’ve managed to raise the standards of conservancy all around.

Did the 2012 fair get bigger in terms of visitors?
Yes, it has got bigger. We’ve had to constantly monitor people coming out of Metro stations, and have had to stop entry to ensure optimum number of visitors are allowed inside. This time the theme has been “Skilling India”. New products were launched. Overall, the experience for the visitor has been superior than before.


January 2013

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