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IITF 2018: Exhibitors rue lack of space, facilities

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New Delhi, Nov 17: Space constraints and lack of basic facilities have left traders and exhibitors at the annual India International Trade Fair (IITF) disappointed as the venue undergoes a makeover but some customers are happy they don’t have to walk around much.

Be it food stalls or state/international pavilions, everything at the fair has shrunk this time due to the implementation of the IECC (Integrated Exhibition-cum-Convention Center) project at Pragati Maidan.

The traders are also struggling to avail proper water and food facilities.

Chhattisgarh-based Kanhaiya Lal Dewangan, who is selling handloom saris, is having to adjust his stall every now and then to make room for the visitors.

“Earlier I used to get a large stall but this time due to the ongoing construction work, I had to settle with a smaller one. I’m not even able to unfold the saris and display them to customers properly. It gets difficult to handle even one customer at a time now,” Dewangan told IANS.

Like Dewangan, there were several other exhibitors who expressed the same concern and felt that IITF 2018 was one of the most disorganised fairs.

Known for setting up Lucknow’s famous Chikankari kurta stall, U.K. Mishra slammed the organisers for not fulfilling the exhibitors and traders’ basic demands.

“We can manage in this little space but how can we live without water? There are hardly one or two water filters in the whole hall. Just imagine, 800 stalls and only one or two water filters,” he said.

“And to get entry, every day we have to buy a ticket. We did not even get an entry card. We have just one entry card and we are two people who manage this stall. My brother has to buy a ticket of Rs 500 every day. Organisers should look after this and provide concessions to the exhibitors,” he added.

Addressing the furious exhibitors’ complaints, Hema Maity, General Manager at the India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO), told IANS: “I agree there is a lack of water facilities. Many water pipelines are blocked due to construction work but we have arranged water ATMs and water tanks everywhere with a charge of just Rs 2 per glass and Rs 5 for bottles.

“There are many inconveniences faced by the people this time, but the construction and redevelopment taking place are for their betterment only.”

IITF, which marked the initial four days (November 14-17) for business visitors, is scheduled to continue till November 27. The 14-day fair is organised by ITPO under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

Around 800 national and international participants are taking part in the exhibition. The average footfall is expected to be around 30,000 approximately, alarmingly lower than previous editions.

Covering just 23,000 sqm of land, the IITF 2018 is causing trouble to the traders and visitors alike.

From unorthodox parking provisions to limited seating arrangement and shuttles, there are many inconveniences for the visitors.

Veena Pandey, who has been attending the trade fair for the past 20 years, was discontent with the quality of food this time.

“There are no proper food stalls, no seating arrangement, nothing. And even if you find a stall, the food items are overpriced. Take a look outside, and so many people are sitting on the grass just because of the shortage of chairs” she said.

A few customers, however, were happy.

“I know there is less space, but to be honest, we are happy as now we do not have to walk a lot. It saves a lot of time. Old people can now easily go and look up to the stalls,” said Amita, a customer who attended the fair with her family.

Despite constraints, all Indian states and union territories have made space and installed their stalls, but those from neighboring countries like Pakistan and Sri Lanka were missing in the fair.

Afghanistan is the partner country whereas Nepal is the focus country and Jharkhand, the focus state of IITF 2018.

IANS

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Sensex up 150 points; Nifty ends short of 10,800 mark 

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sensex up

Mumbai, Dec 13: The key Indian equity indices traded higher on Thursday with the Sensex gaining over 150 points and Nifty50 ending just short of 10,800 points mark.

Almost all the sectoral indices on BSE and NSE ended in the green.

“With inflation cooling off, it will give way to interest rate cut. We expect an interest rate cut which will lead to higher lending,” said Astha Jain, Senior Analyst, Hem Securities.

The Sensex settled up 150.57 points or 0.42 per cent at 35,929.64 touching an intra-day high of 36,095.56 and a low of 35,794.51.

The Nifty50 gained 53.95 points or 0.50 per cent to closed at 10,791.55.

The market was supported by healthy buying in banking stocks. Sentiments were upbeat as the newly appointed Reserve Bank Governor Shaktikanta Das held a meeting with heads of Mumbai-based public sector banks.

The Nifty PSU Bank index gained 1.03 per cent. Banking stocks also rose as RBI is scheduled to purchase government securities and infuse liquidity worth Rs 10,000 crore on Thursday.

Yes Bank shares fell the most on BSE. Shares of the private lender declined steeply after the bank’s Board on Thursday could only finalise the Non-Executive Part-Time Chairman position.

Stock-wise, Wipro, Infosys, Kotak Mahindra Bank and Maruti Suzuki gained over 2 per cent.

In contrast Sun Pharma lost 2.12 per cent and TCS, Tata Steel and Adani Ports declined in the range of 1 to 2 per cent.

IANS

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Petrol prices increase after 2 months

The cost of petrol increased by 11 paise and 13 paise in Mumbai and Chennai respectively from Wednesday’s levels, to Rs 75.91 and Rs 72.94 per litre.

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Petrol Price

Mumbai, Dec 13 : After declining for nearly two months, petrol prices rose marginally on Thursday across three of the four metro cities in the country.

The increase comes after the prices of the fuel declined over 15 per cent in the last two months from the highs recorded in mid-October.

In Delhi, petrol was priced at Rs 70.29 per litre, up from Rs 70.20 recorded on Wednesday, according to data on the Indian Oil Corp’s website.

The cost of petrol increased by 11 paise and 13 paise in Mumbai and Chennai respectively from Wednesday’s levels, to Rs 75.91 and Rs 72.94 per litre.

However, in Kolkata, petrol price dropped 90 paise to Rs 72.38, from Rs 73.28 recorded on Wednesday.

Prices of diesel were unchanged for the second consecutive day in three out of the four metro cities.

In Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai, diesel was sold at unchanged prices of Rs 64.66, Rs 67.66 and Rs 68.26, respectively. Meanwhile, in Kolkata the price of diesel fell by Re 1 to Rs 66.40 per litre.

Diesel prices too have declined nearly 15 per cent from the record high levels reached in mid-October.

The rate hike comes amidst stability in crude oil prices as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Russia last week decided to reduce supply by 1.2 million barrels per day after the continuous fall in oil prices for around two months.

On Thursday, the Brent crude oil futures were around $60.35 per barrel.

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RBI is accountable, government runs country: Shaktikanta Das

On the issue of RBI’s reserves, he said a committee to examine it would be constituted shortly and then with the appointment of its Chairman, the terms of reference of the committee would be drawn with fixed timelines.

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Shaktikanta Das

Mumbai, Dec 12 : Declaring that he will uphold the “autonomy, integrity and credibility” of the RBI, newly-appointed Governor Shaktikanta Das said on Wednesday that the government is responsible for running the country and the central bank is also accountable.

Briefing reporters here after taking charge as the 25th Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Das said that consultations with stakeholders have become fundamental to the central bank’s functioning in view of the complexity of modern day decision-making, and as part of this process he would meet the heads of the Mumbai-based state-run banks on Thursday.

Meetings with public sector banks outside Mumbai would follow “after some days”, he added.

“The RBI is a great institution and I will try my best to uphold its autonomy, identity and values. The autonomy, integrity and credibility is very important for this great institution and it will remain intact,” he assured.

In response to queries on the recent government-RBI tiff culminating in the resignation of Urjit Patel as Governor, Das refused to go into contentious issues.

“I do not like to go into whatever the issues or what are the issues between government which runs the country and the RBI, but every institution has to have its professional integrity, maintain its professional autonomy. At the same time, every institution also must adhere to the principles of accountability,” he said.

“Government is not just a stakeholder but I mean the government of the day runs the economy, runs the country and manages major policy decisions.

“There has to be a free, fair, objective and very frank discussion between the government and the RBI. And, I believe that all issues, however contentious, can be resolved through discussions,” he added.

Das, who holds post graduation degree in history from the Delhi University, unlike his predecessors Urjit Patel and Raghuram Rajan, who were economists of repute, said the RBI board meeting would be held on Friday (December 14) as scheduled.

“We will hold the central board meeting as planned on December 14 and go through the agenda and discuss the various issues that are listed,” he said.

Das took charge as the RBI Governor a day after Urjit Patel resigned amidst a tiff with the Central government on the issue of RBI’s autonomy. Das had steered the monetary situation post-demonetisation as the Economic Affairs Secretary.

On the issue of RBI’s reserves, he said a committee to examine it would be constituted shortly and then with the appointment of its Chairman, the terms of reference of the committee would be drawn with fixed timelines.

Das said he does not want to discuss individual issues as he intends to settle down first and study the issues before taking any decision. On capital requirement in the economy, he said he is open to discussing all issues within the ambit of RBI.

“After the amendment of the RBI Act, the inflation targeting continues to be very important and it’s very heartening to note that inflation broadly is as per the targets and inflation outlook also looks fairly benign at this stage, but we have to be very watchful of the developments,” he said.

Health of public sector banks, liquidity issue and maintenance of growth trajectory of Indian economy are some of the important issues for which he would interact with stakeholders and get an internal feedback before taking a view on these, he said.

Unlike his immediate predecessor Patel, who the government officials alleged had little stakeholder consultations, Das said consultation with all stakeholders always adds value to understanding and his top priority is the banking sector.

“To begin with, I have convened a meeting with the MDs and CEOs of the public sector banks based in Mumbai tomorrow. Banking is an important segment of our economy and is currently facing several challenges which are of critical importance and they need to be dealt with.”

He will follow it up with similar consultations with the state-run banks from outside Mumbai and still later with the chiefs of private sector banks to understand the issues relating to them.

“This is a general consultation. There is no fixed agenda,” he said denying that RBI’s Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) framework, a measure to check banks’ financial health, would be discussed. Currently, 11 out of 21 public sector banks are barred from lending.

Looking forward to working with the officers and staff of the RBI, Das said he always found RBI officers possessing inherent core competence and professionalism to deal with any technical issue.

“I will work as a team with other officials here (RBI) in the best interest of the economy,” he said. Das is a retired 1980-batch IAS officer from Tamil Nadu cadre.

Immediately prior to his current assignment, Das was acting as 15th Finance Commission member and G-20 Sherpa of India. In last 38 years, Das held important positions in Central and state governments in areas of finance, taxation, industries and infrastructure.

IANS

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